Waitrose, a portfolio company of the John Lewis Partnership, has launched new wine bottles without plastic and foil sleeves around the bottle’s neck.

The new bottles without neck sleeves are being trialled on the retailer’s own-brand Loved & Found wine range, which consists of more obscure grape varieties and wine regions.

Waitrose initially launched the trial on four bottles but now plans to expand the initiative to the entire range of its ten Loved & Found wines by the end of 2023.

The move is in line with the retailer’s plans to reduce unnecessary packaging.

By removing neck sleeves from their own-brand wines, the retailer expects to save half a tonne of unnecessary packaging annually.

Barry Dick, MW and beer, wine and spirit sourcing manager for Waitrose said: “Bottle neck sleeves were introduced many years ago to prevent pests such as moths and weevils from ruining wines kept in dark, damp cellars.

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“Nowadays few people have wine cellars and those who do tend to keep them in much better conditions. This has meant that the sleeves have remained for purely aesthetic reasons and are no longer needed to protect wine.

“The bottles in our trial will be corked with a new FSC[-certified] cork which has been extensively tried and tested for its ability to resist being contaminated with TCA, which makes corks smell and taste mouldy and ruins wine. TCA is the reason why cork fell out of favour, but cork has great sustainability credentials which is why it’s making a comeback.

“The bottles look quite different as the neck appears naked, so it will be interesting to see how our customers react to us removing these familiar sleeves.  I for one am looking forward to not having to wrestle with the packaging.”

Earlier this year, Waitrose revealed plans to replace the majority of its small glass wine bottles with aluminium cans.