Friday, January 9, 2009

Fantastic Plastic??

I read an interesting article today on how some wineries are choosing to put their wine into plastic bottles. In my opinion it certainly raises a debate between the benefits for the environment versus the benefits (or lack of) for our own health. There is no doubt that using glass bottles is environmentally taxing (in actual production of the glass and indeed with weight/freight/petrol consumption) hence many wineries choice to change from heavy bottles to lighter ones. Of course, human nature still leads us to think that heavier bottles mean a better quality wine. Realistically, in 2009, this is definitely not so.

In the media over the past few years there have been numerous articles on the dangers of
(PET) plastic bottles and their alleged carcinogenic chemicals that taint and poison any liquid in them. I prefer to drink out of glass bottles for a number of reasons.

The first reason being that I tend to believe that plastic bottles are not completely safe, and secondly everything tastes better out of glass as opposed to plastic. And I mean EVERYTHING. Beer, wine, water, soft drinks, milk, juice... I absolutely hate going to a football match and having to drink beer from a plastic cup. Actually, I even hate beer from a can. For me, the only way to drink beer is cold and in glass. I may be surprised in the future but for now, I prefer my wine the same way (well, not cold unless I have a glass of riesling on a hot day).

The article states that ideally, plastic bottles are for wine to drink now and not store long-term (recommended storage is only two years). As most of the wine that James and I purchase or produce is not for relatively immediate drinking, I cannot forsee that we, as consumers, would be big fans. Time will tell I suppose but I would much prefer to see wine bottles utilised in a more long-term environmentally friendly way and the bottles simply washed and re-used for things other than wine. Stelvin (screw-caps) are fine to re-use but by far the best and most visually aesthetic would have to be Henschke's latest innovation.

Yes, I can almost see my kitchen shelves full of home-made tomato sauce or proper lemonade (made with real lemons from my garden) all standing magnificently in rows, with their classy top hat of a Henschke glass-stopper. Now, if only I could save enough money to buy a bottle of Henschke for every day of the week for the next month, I would have enough bottles to start.

Things do TASTE better from glass. I am not against producers becoming more sympathetic to the world's environmental problems but I think that until PET packaging has passed the test of being safe long-term, the best option is to simply use lighter bottles as it is a benefit to the environment AND to our health, and not either or.

To read about the "experiment" of packaging wine into plastic bottles click on this link: "Vintners give plastic bottles a try"

I am interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this topic so please feel free to make a comment on this post.

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