Sci-Fi Future of Wine Packaging?
I watched a telly show set in the future and it predicted the future of wine packaging.
I’ve seen the future of alternative wine packaging formats, and you know what, it was on Netflix. You probably didn’t notice it, but it was definitely there.
The TV show is on Netflix, called ‘Bodies’.
This is the blurb for the timelines of the TV show
The story starts with the appearance of a dead body in Longharvest Lane in London. This event happens in the same location in four different years – 1890, 1941, 2023 and 2053 – and leads to four different detective investigations that eventually become interlinked with far-reaching consequences.
Obviously, throughout the course of these four intertwined detective stories the occasional sip of wine occurs. Way back in the past, in 1890 wine is served from a glass bottle into a glass decanter.
Similarly, with the 1941 scenes, glass bottles 50 years later, remain the de-facto container. In the one scene I spotted where they’re drinking wine that is. We all know that a huge majority of the wine consumed in 2023 is in glass bottles, especially on the telly show, and Bodies doesn’t push any boundaries with the current wine packaging formats.
But, wait, lo and behold the Netflix production staff with their prediction of the future of wine retail.
Setting the Scene
There’s a girl who’s a supporter of the current government, and their actions after the bomb went off. She’s got a mysterious metallic implement embedded in her back to fix her spine. She removes it, and the male in the room politely understands.
He is her college (?) professor, and is a sciency wizz, a conspiracy theorist who believes in the possibility of time travel, or someotherworldliness to do with particles. It’s confusing.
Her nicely-nicely neighbour seems nice, but leaves them to it, when she realises they’re on a date. We skim over the fact that there’s a student-teacher relationship here1.
They get to know each other, share a glass of wine. Discuss the current state of the world. A world ‘post-bomb’. The guy ponders on whether the girl was special enough to receive the spinal fix gizmo, and ponders on the state of the world.
She says she’s happy with the current government, because what else could they do, and who knows what the alternatives may turn out to be. The guy looks sheepishly at his glass of red wine.
Turns out he’s a massive loony-anti-capitalist-stop-the-bomb-time-travel-exists-in-the-particles-and-we-can-stop-it-lefty. The guy and not-so-nicely-nicely whisk the girl away in a van, apologetically, but it’s for a greater good.
They leave half finished glasses of wine on the table.
What are the Options?
What we have to appreciate for a second, is that setting things in the future, is only going to be based on predictions from what we know now. The Netflix staff aren’t going to invent an entirely new packaging format for a bottle of wine, in one scene in one telly show.
But they did think to themselves, that things may have changed in the intervening 163 years since the ornate glass decanters of 1890. The attention to detail is staggering. Nothing has changed between 1890 and 2023, but in the 30 years that follows, everything changes.
Current Alternative Formats consist of:
Aluminium cans: With all the problems that come from oxygen transfer and SO2 to overcome in the next 30 years, a tense bit of double crossing over a faux date, and cracking open a tin of wine doesn’t seem appropriate.
Bag in Box: Again, if they wouldn’t weaponise a £20 bag-in-box of Tempranillo to fuel a frantic fight scene in Corrie, they’re not going to underpin the tension of a futuristic alternate scene by awkwardly squirting out some wine from a cumbersome box.
Key Keg: Look, we know they make sense for the on-trade, but not even by 2050 are the future of society going to have one of these plumbed in next to their instant hot water tap and coffee frother.
Small Format Samples: Right, I know that I wrote this about EcoSip pouches but perhaps, for the sake of the scene, the requirement to carefully snip them open without spilling it, was a hindrance. It could also suggest that in 30 years time, we simply will not need scissors.
Plastic Bottles: They just don’t feel like the future, do they?
The Future of Wine Packaging
In the infinite wisdom of the Netflix Production Team they chose a Frugalpac ‘Frugal’ Bottle.
The future of wine bottles, is a considerably more complicated wine bottle.
If you don’t know, a ‘frugal’ bottle is effectively a 750ml bag-in-box in the shape of a normal wine bottle.
Meet the Frugal Bottle
“The Frugal Bottle, made from 94% recycled paperboard with a food grade pouch, is five times lighter than glass, has six times lower carbon footprint and offers 360 degree branding for exceptional shelf stand-out.”
94% recyclable, paperboard outer.
Five times lighter than a normal glass bottle
Carbon footprint up to six times lower than a glass bottle
Up to 77% less plastic than a plastic bottle
These things are made of cardboard and two types of plastic, so although 94% recyclable, it’s actually a massive hassle to recycle that 94%.
They feel and look a bit weird.
Because they’re plastic lined the wines they have a shelf life, so you won’t be drinking ‘old’ wine in the future. Glass will store wine indefinitely.
Yes, they are light, and yes there’s not much plastic because they’re made of cardboard.
At least they’re still making wine in the future, we just haven’t come very far in packaging.
The Frugalpac x Netflix Press Release
The Ipswich company was asked last year to make bespoke Frugal Bottles by Bodies’ production team for the eight-part drama’s future storyline set in 2053. The show is currently the most watched show on Netflix worldwide.
Paper bottles helping to decarbonise beverage packaging
This is the Porto Protocol’s Case Study Assessment on the Frugal Pack Frugal bottle. An independent Life Cycle Analysis carried out by Intertek, which tested the Frugal Bottle alongside bottles made from glass and PET plastic.
British sustainable packaging company Frugalpac set out to create a more sustainable form of wine and spirits packaging that would be easy to recycle but with a vastly reduced carbon footprint.
Maybe that’s totally cool in 2053?