Weighty wine bottles 11-17-2021

Wine bottle weight is a weighty issue in the wine world. On one hand, there is the expense, waste, and carbon footprint of heavy bottles. On the other hand, bodacious bottles have a clear marketing and psychological impact.

The marketing–psychological element may be irrational. It does not mean it is not real. The benefits of less weight—in materials, transportation costs, handling, eventual disposal—are manifest, but what if customers perceive a lighter bottle means an inferior product and, therefore, do not buy? How does that weigh on a winery’s decisions?

Wine Opinions is a market research company. They do custom research for the wine trade, but also publish a free monthly newsletter. In October, they addressed awareness and perceptions of bottle weight. Results were mixed and interesting.

More than half of those surveyed made the sensible, and correct, conclusion that bottle weight does not affect wine quality. One-in-four understood heavy bottles were a marketing ploy. Nearly half understood shipping in lighter bottles is one of the best ways a winery can reduce its carbon footprint. A whopping 90% rejected the idea that heavy bottles protected wine from “aging too fast.”

But the survey also revealed problems with lighter bottles.

• Almost one-in-four felt many high-quality red wines come in heavy bottles.

• Almost one-in-four said their favorite wine came in a heavy bottle.

• Almost one-in-three said they do not even notice if a bottle is heavy or light.

Bottom lines: Lighter bottles are coming, it just makes too much sense in costs and carbon footprint not to happen. Same time, there will be market reluctance, just as there was when wineries switched to screw-top closures.

Takeaway: When picking the wine for your Thanksgiving shindig, buy the wine you like no matter the weight of the bottle.

Tasting notes:

• River Road Un-Oaked Chardonnay California 2019: Refreshing, quaffable; touch of sweetness and ripe chard fruit. $12-14 Link to my review

• SIMI Sonoma County Chardonnay 2019: Full, rich; appropriate oak, butter, vanilla for this style of California chard. $16-20 Link to my review

• Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato, Fruili DOC 2019: People who think they do not like wine can sip this without trepidation. $15-21 Link to my review

• District 7 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Grown, Monterey, California 2019: Tasty, somewhat laid-back iteration of sauvignon blanc that should have wide appeal. $18-21 Link to my review

• Ram’s Gate Pinot Noir, Carneros 2018: Sophisticated wine with depth and complexity. $55-66 Link to my review

Last round: What do Thanksgiving turkeys become after they die? Poultrygeists.