Swept along with the everything “Green” movement are a number of wine
enthusiasts and environmentalist who have begun to rally behind the use
of plastic wine bottles. When I first read an article about the
momentum-gaining fad, I sighed deeply; not a sigh of relief but a sigh
of displeasure emanating from my soul. I immediately stopped to analyze
my initial aversion to the idea of opening a screw-top green plastic
bottle and pouring wine from its threaded opening. Was this in fact a
genius idea that would revolutionize the wine industry? Or will I be
forced to stockpile glass bottled wine and resist the coercion to accept
that plastic-y taste. I decided to read some opposing views and see how
intelligently the arguments were presented.
in favor of plastic wine bottles present mostly environmental facts
which I can sympathize with. None of us want to eventually live on a
giant trash heap, our bodies wrought with illness because of our
unsanitary existence. I love trees as much as the next person; I do live
in the Pacific Northwest after all. So they say these green plastic
wine bottles will reduce our carbon footprint significantly. They are
typically designed to be shatterproof, lightweight, and free of the
chemical BPA. Because these wine bottles are much lighter than glass
bottles, shipping can be done in greater quantity thus saving shipping
costs, energy, and space.
Supporters of green plastic wine bottles
also argue that because the plastic used is 100% recyclable, conversion
to these bottles will reduce green house emissions by over 50%, water
consumption by about 75%, and air pollution by around 50%. These are
some impressive percentages to absorb. I started to figuratively pack my
bags because I felt a guilt trip coming on. Also, I read that 6 plastic
bottles are lighter than 1 glass bottle which helps explain the
positive effects on cost and energy consumption.
concerns aside, I drink wine for the taste. And I want quality wine with
rich complex flavor and aromas that can cause me to instantly attain
Nirvana. I was disheartened to read a vineyard owner’s statement that
consumers only care about what is in their wine glass not where it came
from. This is assuredly not the case. I can’t say for certain that I
would be able to tell the wine of plastic origin from the traditionally
bottled vintage, but I can definitely attest to my concern over more
than the contents of my wine glass.
Another cringe-inducing fact
is that these plastic bottles have expiration dates; glass bottles offer
a better barrier which means wine can be aged and remain “good” for a
greater period of time. If plastic wine bottles are thrust upon us
completely, we’ll all need to quickly invest in personal wine
refrigerators. A few blind taste tests were performed with only a few
varietals and the wines was rated as tasting good. But plastic is not
ideal for aging, especially with poor alcohol containment. Wine experts
have affirmed that quality wines, which need to be aged in a wine cellar
or cooler, will not fair well if aging is attempted in plastic bottles.
These wines are too expensive to risk ruination.
glass bottle advocates also argue that wine making and drinking is
steeped in tradition and that such deeply-rooted custom should not be
broken. I must admit that plastic wine bottles make me think of cheap
boxed wine. I want to keep my glass wine bottle habit for now but I
can’t help feeling that, in the end, the “Green” enthusiasts will
succeed in stocking our shelves full of plastic, expiration
date-stamped, drop-it-and-it-won’t-break, wine bottles. I guess I’ll
have to take up picnicking as a hobby.
Written By Sarah Meadows