Fourth Wave Wines have launched Crate, a new wine with sustainable packaging that features no paper on the labelless bottles – instead, all brand information is located within a tiny capsule.

Rowena Curlewis, co-founder of Denomination, tells Packaging Gateway exclusively that “as designers we will need to completely rethink how branded packaging works as we move towards refill and the minimisation of packaging materials.”

She explains that no longer will the vessel be able to be covered in branded graphics if the industry wants to minimise the use of ink, paper and plastic, as well as the energy required for printing and screen printing.

She continues: “This will mean a revolution in how we design packaging, and Crate is an example of how that might look: using minimal amount of ink and energy to brand the product with the absolute necessities, but still have a distinctive brand feel.”

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The digital capsule contains all mandatory information, the brand logotype, varietal, region, vintage, legal claims, barcode, brand messaging and a QR code for further information.

The brand explains that the wine itself is made from small boutique vineyards and the aim is to reinvest the money into farmer’s pockets.

Crate’s labelless packaging design focuses on sustainability with the 100% recycled carton stating: “Our planet matters more than our packaging”.

In order to apply a paper label to a bottle, a PET liner containing crude oil needs to be used. By removing the label, Fourth Wave Wines saves energy, waste and trees in its manufacturing.

Fourth Wave Wines developed the packaging in collaboration with drinks branding specialist Denomination. Crate explains that it uses transition glass from bottles that would otherwise be thrown away and the wines can only be bought by the case, which lowers their carbon footprint.

Nicholas Crampton, co-owner of Fourth Wave Wines, comments that Crate “is shining a light on alternatives to conventional packaging that use paper labels, an increasingly precious commodity.”

In another sustainable move for wine packaging, Waitrose recently announced that it will use aluminium cans instead of glass bottles.

According to a GlobalData report, the global wine market size was was US$321.3bn in 2021 and is projected to achieve a CAGR of more than 6% during the period 2021-2026. As such, the wine industry is ripe for investment in innovative packaging.