A Crossroads in the Composition and Shape of the Wine Bottle

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Nick Antonaccio
Nick Antonaccio

The winds of change are blowing – again. This time it’s the impact of wine on the environment. Not the wine that is in the bottle, but the bottle that the wine is in. Concerns are surfacing over the impact of producing, shipping and recycling glass bottles.

This has the potential to change our buying and drinking habits in a profound manner. Slowly, but inexorably, the wine industry is moving to alternative containers for wines. More and more, we are seeing Tetra Paks and wine-in-a-box on wine shop shelves.

Now comes another innovation in wine vessels. Garçon Wines of Great Britain has introduced a high quality slimmed-down version of a plastic wine bottle. Two innovations in one package: shape and composition.

I must admit I’ve been having difficulty deciding if I can support this new product. I’m conflicted by my uneasiness with a plastic, not glass, vessel for storing wine, and my exuberance for the new shape.

The plastic is high-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a thermoplastic polymer resin, while the shape is that of a slim flask. Allow me to elaborate.

Plastic bottles proliferate the food aisles – and the landscape. The PET bottles are stronger, clearer and more readily recyclable than many plastic bottles.

The shape of the PET bottle is a marketing marvel. The bottle is as wide as a traditional Bordeaux or Burgundy glass bottle, yet it is not cylindrically shaped. Rather, it is more like a rectangle, no deeper than the screwcap atop its neck. And it is taller than a traditional wine bottle, maintaining the same 750 ml capacity of the traditional glass bottle. Think of a glass bottle being figuratively run over by a multi-ton asphalt roller and flattened to a mere two inches. Does that evoke a mental image? That is the Garçon bottle.

Allow me to air my conflicting opinions of the Garçon bottle.


  1. Glass bottles weigh 19 ounces, while PET bottles average two ounces. Factor that difference on the tens of billions of wine bottles sold and potentially recycled each year. The cost savings on production, shipping and home delivery charges is significant. The carbon footprint is smaller than glass bottles.
  2. The flask-like shape of the Garçon bottle has a smaller footprint than a traditional glass wine bottle. This makes for more efficient costs in shipping and storing; significantly more bottles in less space.
  3. The Garçon bottle is designed to fit in your mailbox, making it much easier to transport and deliver directly to homes (except in our area; an adult, 21 or older, must sign for wine deliveries).
  4. The Garçon bottle is more conducive for outdoor usage. It is made for today’s outdoor lifestyle. Now you can have plastic wine bottles matched to your plastic wine glasses and plastic dinnerware. And you can carry it alongside your plastic bottle of water or sports drink.


  1. It’s made from plastic. Over the long run plastic is not environmentally friendly.
  2. It’s made from plastic. Lurking BPAs are still a potential health threat.
  3. Plastic may affect the aromas and flavors of the wine contents. Studies have shown that this is not a factor, so long as the wine is consumed within 12 months of being bottled. That’s a short window for many wines.
  4. Plastic is more porous than glass. Oxygen is more likely to penetrate the walls and oxidize the wine contents. There is minimal risk if the wine is consumed within the 12-month window mentioned above.
  5. It’s made from plastic. The Garçon bottle is not a natural product. It is coming into a market that is highly sensitive to sustainable practices.

So, where do I come down on this self-created debate? I like the novel shape of the Garçon bottle. I’m able to adjust my traditional perspective for this aspect. But in the end, it’s made from plastic.

Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member of the Wine Media Guild of wine writers. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at or on Twitter @sharingwine.

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