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Truett-Hurst releases wines in paper bottles

Truett-Hurst wine company of Healdsburg, California, says no to marketing green-washing with the release of the first paper wine bottle in the US. Branded PaperBoy, it comprises a wine bottle shaped moulded outer shell made from recycled cardboard with a plastic liner. (See also the full details in our story about it's development and Kingsland Wine's launch of Thirsty Earth  wines in the Green Bottle at London International Wine Fair) The entire package is 85% lighter than most glass bottles and is easily recyclable.

American supermarket chain Safeway will partner with Truett-Hurst in the initial release of PaperBoy in the US.

PaperBoy contains appellation–based, super-premium wines sourced from the Mendocino and Paso Robles growing regions and crafted by winemaker Virginia Marie Lambrix, also the winemaker for VML. Introductory PaperBoy wines are a 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend (US$14.99) and a 2012 Mendocino Chardonnay (US$13.99). Lambrix is passionate about innovation. She says: "We at Truett-Hurst Inc. believe that if the quality of the wine exceeds a customer's expectation, then new, cutting-edge packaging will become more mainstream."

Truett-Hurst says it is responding to consumer lifestyle choices – to eco-conscious wine lovers on-the-go. Paper Boy provides a responsible way to carry wine outdoors. Campers, hikers and fishermen can carry this lightweight package – only 1.9 lbs. filled – and enjoy premium wine from a 750ml bottle almost anywhere, collapsing it when finished for return to a recycling site. "We're thrilled to be a pioneer of this earth-friendly, high-quality, innovative package. It could create an entirely new category in wine," says Truett-Hurst Inc.'s president and CEO Phil Hurst.

About the design 
Truett-Hurst's designer, Kevin Shaw of Stranger & Stranger design agency, worked with Green Bottle, the UK-based paper bottle manufacturer. Shaw added the lighthearted and retro-cool feel of the brand identity. He comments, "This is a product that is unashamedly different and it was important that the name was iconic to own the medium, and that the branding was bright, strong, and fearless." Extensive testing has proven the bottle to be in some ways superior to a traditional glass bottle. It insulates better, recycles more readily, and is lighter and more transportable, yet it looks and acts like a traditional glass bottle.

Environmental impact
Packaging waste is a huge and growing problem in modern society, particularly in the wine industry. According UK government funded body WRAP (, 17.5 billion bottles of wine are consumed annually around the globe, producing 8.75 billion tons of glass waste – more packaging waste than any other product in the food or drink sector.

The PaperBoy/Green Bottle offers an alternative. The bottle's cardboard outer can go into mainstream recycling streams, which are used to produce other cardboard products. The cap and neck assembly pieces are also recyclable, and the plastic liner is suitable for ‘waste to energy’ programs. In total, the overall carbon footprint of PaperBoy, from production to shipping to recycling, is significantly lower than glass. Even the 12-pack cartons are produced from recycled paper. Each PaperBoy bottle comes with instructions for how to break the bottle down for disposal. As a winemaker, Virginia Lambrix admires the economic practicality of PaperBoy. She says, "Wines that will be consumed almost immediately do not need a heavy, environmentally and economically expensive glass bottle and cork. We would rather apply the savings that PaperBoy affords toward more expensive, better-crafted wine so that both the customer and the environment win."

Transportation savings
Case weight for normal glass bottles with liquid is 36 lbs versus the paper bottle at 23.6 lbs. A pallet of 56 cases prepared for shipping is reduced from 2,000 lbs to 1,322 lbs – a weight reduction of 34% and a saving of more than 7 tonnes per truckload of wine shipped.

Truett-Hurst Inc. is a super-premium and ultra-premium wine sales, marketing and production company based in the Dry Creek and Russian River valleys of Sonoma County, California.

21 November 2013 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor