The removal of wine bottle neck sleeves is currently being tested by Waitrose
Waitrose is the first supermarket in the United Kingdom to experiment with selling wine bottles without the traditional plastic and foil sleeves that are typically wrapped around the bottle necks.
Because to this change, wine lovers won’t have to execute the action of cutting and tearing off this packaging anymore,
which is something they are accustomed to doing as part of the ritual of opening a bottle of wine.
Waitrose’s own brand Loved & Found wine collection, which focuses on lesser-known grape varieties and wine areas,
is participating in a trial in which the sleeves on the bottles, which serve no practical purpose, are removed.
As part of Waitrose’s plans to decrease the amount of packaging that is not essential,
initially four bottles will be sold without neck sleeves, which are legally known as ‘capsules.’
By the end of the year, the packaging will be removed from the whole range of ten Loved & Found wines.
This is being done in accordance with the retailer’s commitment to reducing unnecessary packing.
“Bottle neck sleeves were introduced many years ago to prevent pests such as moths and weevils from destroying wines that were stored in dark, damp cellars,”
explained Barry Dick, MW, who is also the Beer, Wine and Spirit Sourcing Manager for Waitrose.
This species of moth has caterpillars that can bore through wine corks, which can cause the wine to get tainted with must or cause it to leak.
These days, only a small percentage of households have wine cellars, and owners typically take considerably better care of their collections than those who don’t.
Because of this, the sleeves are still used, but not for the purpose of protecting the wine; rather, they are there solely for cosmetic purposes.
“The quality of corks that are utilised in the wine business has also seen a significant improvement in recent years.
The bottles that will be used in our test will each have a new FSC cork inserted into them.
This cork has undergone a great deal of research and development to ensure that it is resistant to becoming contaminated with TCA,
a substance that imparts a musty odour and flavour to corks as well as destroys wine.
TCA is the reason why cork went out of fashion, but since cork has outstanding sustainability qualities,
it is making a comeback because of its great sustainability credentials.
“The bottles look quite different because the neck appears to be bare,
so it will be interesting to watch how our customers react to us removing these familiar wraps from the bottles.
I, for one, cannot wait to be freed from the necessity of grappling with the product’s packaging.
It is estimated that Waitrose will save half a tonne of unneeded packaging each year
by removing the capsules from its selection of ten wines called Loved and Found.
Beginning on April 24th, the following four new Loved & Found wines will be available for purchase in sleeveless bottles at Waitrose:
Trincadeira – Alentejo – Portugal – 2021 vintage – £8.99
Zibbibo, vintage 2022, Sicily, price: £8.99 per bottle
Mascalese, vintage Sicily 2022, priced at £8.99 per bottle
Priced at £8.99 per bottle, the 2021 vintage of Lacrima from Marche in Italy
Another step Waitrose took this year to reduce its environmental impact was to switch as many of its smaller wine bottles to cans as possible.
This cut the carbon footprint of each beverage in half.
The removal of wine bottle neck sleeves is currently a topic of discussion in the wine industry.
The neck sleeve, also known as the capsule or foil, is a thin covering on the neck and cork of a wine bottle that serves both aesthetic and functional purposes.
While some wine producers and consumers appreciate the traditional and polished appearance of a neck sleeve,
others argue that it is unnecessary, wasteful, and environmentally unfriendly.