Want to Redesign The Wine Bottle? Start From The Top...And Just Use Cork

by Bill McCool on 06/17/2019 | 2 Minute Read

There’s nothing like tearing into a great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or a Sancerre, and if you’re into the ritual that most wine snobs describe with the sort of word diarrhea that would make Marcel Proust blush, you know that getting through that piece of cork is deeply intertwined with the process.

Plus, there’s a real sense of weight when you hold a glass bottle in your hands. Not only does it signify a premium product or experience, but it’s also much more satisfying to smash against a wall while holding it by the neck in case you’re set upon by a biker gang hopped up on speed instead of, say, a baguette.

But do we need to bottle wine in glass?

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As part of a collection of concept designs that has a minimal-to-no impact on the environment, creative agency Anthem Worldwide released the first in their series of future-focused packaging. Dubbed “Sculpted by the Sun,” Anthem dreamt up a wine bottle made entirely of cork.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves to make more of this wonderfully sustainable material,” said senior designer Fernando Ruiz Ibanez. “Our vision was to design a more sustainable range of organic wines—a concept inspired by nature in all its simplicity; sunshine, grape and cork.”

Though only a concept, you can visualize something like this as a packaging material since cork is sustainable; only the bark of the cork tree is used to harvest the material itself. Cork regenerates every nine years, and the harvesting alone does no damage to a mature tree. Not only that, but cork is 100% compostable.

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To make the bottle, granules of cork get mixed with a natural binding agent; this not only makes the material stronger, but it stops it from swelling when it comes in contact with the wine inside. Each bottle has a cut at the top that allows the buyer to snap off a small portion for opening. Incidentally, sustainable beauty giants Lush have utilized cork for packaging as well for their shampoo bars.

As for the labeling, Anthem burnt the logos onto the packaging via embossing, and all text was stenciled with low-grade wine and vinegar standing in as ink.

Despite being 100% recyclable, only 33% of glass, at least in the US, gets recycled (as opposed to 90% in Europe), and the closure of a glass recycling facility in Massachusetts  has created fundamental problems when it comes to processing the stuff in the Northeast, so it’s not without its complications.

So while you’ll never win an epic bar fight with a wine bottle made from cork, Anthem has still managed to unveil an intriguing concept for vintners to mull over.

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