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Packaging of wine is very important in the process of branding, particularly when it is a new wine being introduced into the market. The design of the label can actually determine the success or failure of the wine product. This means the packaging sells what it protects and protects what it sells. Despite the quality of wine being excellent, clients often see the package design first and they base their judgment on the inkling evoked by the design.
Protecting and Selling
The wine packaging by use of bottles unquestionably protects the content in the bottles. However, wine packaging has four basic functions including, holding the contents, protecting the contents, for identification and for selling the product (Jackson, 2008, p. 489).
The function of identification and selling come from the packaging being unique so that the product stands out from the rest and it attracts a great deal of clients. In conventional market (Wagner et al, 2007, p. 78), the sellers and the consumers usually bargain over prices of the product and the selling is hence done by people.
In modern wine stores, bargaining is limited and packages do the selling. People often buy from the seller they trust in traditional marketplace but in the wine stores, the wines have been packaged and have brand names and customers build their trust and loyalty on these brands (Orth & Malkewitz, 2008, p. 65). Therefore besides selling the wine, the wine bottle protects the wine (Wagner et al, 2007, p. 78).
The wine characteristics could have significant impact on the package integrity. Wine is a special product and glass containers are the preferred means of packaging the wine because they protect the original taste of the wine. Off all the packaging products available like multilayered carton boxes, plastic containers and cans, it glass that has the greatest impermeability to vapors and gases, they are transparent and can be recycles (Mentana, et al, 2009, p. 1361).
They therefore keep the wine in good original taste for the longest time. The glass containers do not require additives or plastic layers to help it preserve the taste of the wine. In glass containers, wines can retain their taste for more than half a century while in other containers it can only stay for a few months (Mentana, et al, 2009, p. 1361).
Packaging systems and Dispensing
For wine marketing, packaging is not only about the bottle but also the wine glasses and the dispensers. Wine consumers have noted that dispensers provide means of dispensing wine in appropriate volumes and preserving it their favorite tastes (Mentana, et al, 2009, p. 1364). Several systems are available for use in hotels, restaurants and cafes and even at home.
A wine dispenser provides an amazing way of ensuring that the wine remains in good state to the last drop. These dispensers add value by ensuring that each glass dispensed is in its original taste (Taber, 2007, p. 87). Besides the bottle which is the best container for packaging wine, other packaging systems as already highlighted include the box-in-bag containers and the PET bottles (the Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic bottles).
The bag in box is a plastic bag that has been metalized by several layers of metal films in a corrugated fiberboard carton. For easy dispensing and use, these boxes come with fillers and taps. Filing is usually done by machines and based on the target consumers the box can have an airtight tap (Taber, 2007, p. 87). This ensures that the wine remains preserved.
There has been increasing use of the PET bottle in the UK and South Africa to package their wines. These counties have conducted research showing that these bottles are not inferior to the glass bottles. These bottles are very efficient in preserving the wine taste and for dispensing (Jackson, 2008, p. 489). They are also thought to have lesser carbon foot prints than recycling of glass. Other not commonly used packaging systems are the aluminium bottles and the metal cans.
To preserve wine, the packaging comes with closures to open and close the containers. Traditionally, the cork has been an important object (Orth & Malkewitz, 2008, p. 65). Wines are consumed on special event and the opening of the wine is often a ritual and many consumers enjoy this, regardless of whether it’s done, in a hotel, restaurant or a café (Taber, 2007, p. 89).
Targeting the correct consumers is a key in developing demand of the wine brand. Closures are therefore phenomenal to the ritual, whether it’s a “pop” produced by that cork or a “crack” when the screw cap is removed, the appeal is a selling strategy. There are a several types of closures, the cork disc and synthetic corks made from silicon.
There is also the screw cap with plastic shells, aluminium caps, glass plugs and crown seal among others. These new closure types have reduced the excitement that comes with opening a bottle of wine on romantic dinner or other events (Taber, 2007, p. 88). Probably it’s because of increased consumption of wine in hotels, restaurants and cafes, the busy environment has necessitated that there needs to be a way of reducing service time and make storage easier as a the bottom line.
Environment Friendly – used glass bottles are recyclable as packaging containers and they can be returned to the shelves after 30 days (Jackson, 2008, p. 489). The process of recycling glass decreases exhaustion of resources, decreases carbon emission and it’s a way of conserving energy as well.
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There has been great improvement in the technology of glass manufacturing which has led to development of lighter glass bottle with remarkable toughness though approximately 40% lighter compared to the way the situation was two decades ago (Grainger, 2009, p. 111).
Unlike glass containers, the other packaging systems (PET bottles and bag-in-box containers), are made from materials that are very difficult to recycled therefore they are mostly incinerated or converted into raw materials for other products that will still end up in landfills and probably in water bodies (Grainger, 2009, p. 111). The bag-in-box containers are classically manufactured from aluminium or plastic materials set in the inner part of a fiberboard box to reduce permeability of the container.
The PET bottles are manufactured from the by-products of petroleum and therefore account for over 10% of the oil consumed by a country. The glass manufactures are targeting to use 50% of materials recycled to make glass (Grainger, 2009, p. 111). This is going to make it even more sustainable. Some manufacturers have already exceeded that level to using up to 70% in manufacture of wine bottles.
In the marketing of wine, the packaging does not just hold the product being sold but it creates the product. Most of the time, consumers do not have t the keenness of distinguishing package and the contents. The packaging shape the way consumers assess and rate the product. Therefore the design of a brand is very crucial for selling wine. In order to ensure that a brand stands out from the rest of the pack, many manufacturers are seeking and developing the most unique and creative packaging designs.
Grainger, K., 2009, Wine Quality: Tasting and Selection. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
Jackson, R., 2008, Wine Science: Principles and Applications. Amsterdam: Academic Press Inc.
Mentana, A., et al. 2009. Chemical changes in Apulia table wines as affected by plastic packages. LWT – Food Science and Technology, Vol. 42, pp.1360-1366
Orth, UR & Malkewitz, K., 2008. Holistic Package Design and Consumer Brand Impressions. Journal of Marketing¸ Vol. 72, Issue 3, Pp. 64-81
Taber, G. M., 2007, To Cork or Not To Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle For the for the Wine Bottle, Simon & Schuster: New York
Wagner, P., Olsen, J .,& Thach, L., 2007, Wine Marketing & Sales: Success Strategies for a Saturated Market. San Francisco: The Wine Appreciation Guild