Garçon Wines: The intersection of the emotional, functional and sustainable in wine packaging

Garçon Wines: The intersection of the emotional, functional and sustainable in wine packaging

20 Sep 2018 --- In collaboration with RPC M&H Plastics UK, Garçon Wines has reimagined wine retailing, logistics and delivery with the invention of a full-sized, letterbox-friendly 750ml wine bottle made from 100 percent recyclable PET. As the granted IP holder of the invention, Garçon Wines commercializes these unique, slimline and lightweight wine bottles, operating as both a drinks packaging provider and wine wholesale supplier. PackagingInsights speaks to Santiago Navarro, CEO and Co-Founder, about the ripples they are creating in wine retailing and e-commerce at large.

“Our innovation presents a solution to a real-world problem. Round, glass bottles have remained relatively unchanged since the 19th century. However, the sales and supply of wine have changed significantly since then. The traditional bottles, which consumers know and like, work well from an emotional perspective – they look beautiful on a dining table – but from a functional perspective they’re not fit for purpose for distance selling and home delivery,” he says.

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Letterbox-friendly PET bottle

“The only other primary packaging alternative before us was bag-in-box or carton which achieves the functional benefits but totally lacks emotional benefits; we believe most consumers would not proudly place a box of wine on their dining table.”

“We wanted to come up with a new primary packaging format, one that was best suited for e-commerce and home delivery, looked beautiful on a dining table and was also sustainable. One way of looking at it is taking a cross section of the wine bottle shape and this ensured that the resulting design would look like the bottles we all know and love.”

“It’s important to note that all our bottles are made of 100 percent recycled PET and are 100 percent recyclable after, not just our light pink bottle which we recently launched for our first Rosé wine,” he adds.

Significantly, the pink bottle color allows the product to avoid issues of discoloration and maintain consumer appeal. The bottles come with a plastic screwcap to ensure they’re truly 100 percent recyclable.

Navarro explains how the incremental innovation behind the flatline wine bottles comes from the team as a whole. Originally imagined and devised by Navarro and Co-Founder, Joe Revell, the concept of postable wine bottles has been optimized by trust in a “strong network of freelancers whose expertise we call on as and when we need it.”

Secondary packaging
“The letterbox friendly postal pack we currently offer was developed in collaboration with a British-based international packaging giant which also supplies the packaging to Amazon,” says Navarro.

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Santiago Navarro, CEO and Co-Founder of Garçon Wines

“It was developed primarily to deliver the wine safely and seamlessly through the letterbox. To this aim, a fit in the majority of postal boxes was a must and so we researched letterbox dimensions at a level that few others would ever do.”

“It was also created to minimize the amount of packaging used and to ensure it was easily and fully recyclable after, seeing as being eco-friendly and sustainable is fundamental to everything we do. Finally, we care about the emotional and experiential, and so we designed our postal pack to be as attractive and appealing as possible.”

A self-facilitated circular economy
As a truly eco-conscious company, Garçon Wines are currently exploring ways to self-facilitate a circular recycling system for its own bottles.

“There are several ways in which we could implement this system and one of which we’ll likely introduce with a collaboration we’re shortly launching with our largest business customer so far,” continues Navarro.

“We’re also considering working with a leading academic institution on defining a more comprehensive solution that we can extend to more of our business customers. The aim is always to remove as much friction for consumers as possible.”

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Postable transit packaging

“We want to achieve a circular system for our bottles as we know that together with our great production partners RPC M&H Plastics, we can regrind used bottles and use them to produce new ones.”

“Both M&H and us believe that using the right plastics responsibly is the best primary packaging available for drinks bottles at this time, and so we’re determined to do our part in implementing this successfully,” he says.

Watch this space
Beyond a pending recycling program, Garçon Wines have also branched out beyond wine, and will shortly be launching several other projects with different beverages.

“One of these promises to be a massive opportunity. All new business projects are under wraps for now and we’ll announce them first on LinkedIn or Twitter – either my accounts or those of the company. Make sure to follow us for the latest news – Santiago Navarro or Garçon Wines.”

“Whilst our current focus is on the UK, we’ll grow internationally to expand to all countries where we can commercialize our innovative bottles in that market, across different customers and channels, as we’re doing in the UK.”

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Pink PET bottle for Rosé wine

“During the period when we were first developing our bottles, we were encouraged to create a bottle in 50 percent recycled PET as that was what other successful companies were offering. But I said no – let’s raise the bar as high as it goes and let’s show the drinks industry that a start-up can do what’s right for the planet, not the cheap or easy thing.”

“We chose to encourage others to realize that the norm may not be good enough and that outliers can sometimes change the status quo to the benefit of all. I believe we’ll create ripples; I believe we’ve already done so, and I hope those ripples can turn into a tsunami that encourages the use of the right plastic first and then the responsible recycling of it afterward,” Navarro concludes.

Garçon Wines launched after winning CNBC TV series Pop Up Start Up and being awarded a £20,000 (US$26,000) cash prize. The company retained the services of a Master of Wine – the most prestigious title in the world of wine – and the leading qualification in wine expertise who oversees wine-related matters. Moreover, they believe that their slimline bottle design is revolutionizing wine retailing, logistics and delivery, in the UK and internationally.

By Joshua Poole

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