Ball Pushing Plastic Wine Bottles

A Sutter Home model is the first off the line.
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Citing rising demand,

Ball

(BLL) - Get Report

set plans to show off its plastic wine bottle line next week at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, Calif.

Designed using input from consumers, wineries, distributors and venue operators, Ball's PET wine bottles combine the premium look and feel of glass with the modern convenience of plastic, the company said. They are an ideal vehicle for brand owners who want to target usage occasions like travel and outdoor venues where glass is not allowed. Because the plastic bottles weigh less than glass bottles, there also is an opportunity for cost savings on freight and distribution.

"Sales of single-serve, 187 mL wine bottles grew nearly 20 percent last year," says Jerry Rosenow, national wine category manager for Ball. "The size is just right for today's growing portion of smaller households and consumers for whom a 750 mL bottle is just too much for the occasion."

In addition to its stock containers, Ball designed a custom 187 mL PET wine bottle for Sutter Home Winery which preserves the look of the existing Sutter Home glass container. The winery launched four varieties in the PET 187 mL bottles into select markets last fall and continues to expand distribution.

"We already had a single-serve size in our 187 mL glass bottles and believed that adding PET would only increase the level of convenience for consumers and expand our package mix in line with market demands," says Wendy Nyberg, senior director of marketing for Sutter Home. "We are very pleased with consumer acceptance so far. We see this as an opportunity to capitalize on our existing brand awareness and grow our market share as well."

Ball designed the Sutter Home bottles to run on the winery's existing glass lines in order to minimize the need for change parts and simplify filling. "The transition into PET has been very smooth overall," says Nyberg. "We have had great support from Ball throughout the development, testing and production process."