Bottle weight

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RickieM
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Bottle weight

#1 Post by RickieM » July 30th, 2019, 8:42 am

There's a good article on the Tablas Creek blog today about the positive impact made by their switch to lighter bottles. It's resulted in cost savings, less use of glass, and customers favor it.

I agree, what is the point of needlessly heavy bottles? Champagne I can understand because of the carbonation. But as much as I like Bedrock wines, I wonder why do their bottles need to be so heavy. And in the case of wineries that make oversize bottles, what is the point? All it does is take up more space and make them hard to fit in racks. I don't think bottle weight correlates to wine quality.

Here's the link to the blog if you want to read their article:

https://tablascreek.typepad.com/tablas/ ... later.html
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Re: Bottle weight

#2 Post by Craig G » July 30th, 2019, 8:54 am

We need more bottle shaming.
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Re: Bottle weight

#3 Post by Jeff_M. » July 30th, 2019, 9:11 am

Turley immediately comes to mind. Love the wine, despise the bottles.
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Re: Bottle weight

#4 Post by Joe B » July 30th, 2019, 9:20 am

Here we go again.
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Re: Bottle weight

#5 Post by MBerto » July 30th, 2019, 9:23 am

I think Morgan has addressed this in the past - given the price point of a lot his wines, it helps to have a nice big bottle for market perception. It's an unfortunate reality that you have to deal with - I've heard other winemarkers say the same thing with respect to screw caps - can't sell a $50 wine with a screw cap, regardless of quality. Perhaps in the future then can do a screw cap plastic bottle for us in the know, and something that doubles as a bludgeon for the simpletons in the retail/restaurant market.
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Re: Bottle weight

#6 Post by Chris Seiber » July 30th, 2019, 9:50 am

RickieM wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 8:42 am
There's a good article on the Tablas Creek blog today about the positive impact made by their switch to lighter bottles. It's resulted in cost savings, less use of glass, and customers favor it.

I agree, what is the point of needlessly heavy bottles? Champagne I can understand because of the carbonation. But as much as I like Bedrock wines, I wonder why do their bottles need to be so heavy. And in the case of wineries that make oversize bottles, what is the point? All it does is take up more space and make them hard to fit in racks. I don't think bottle weight correlates to wine quality.
Everyone is going to agree with you here, myself included. Yet packaging and appearance do matter in the sale of retail products, and consumers are not purely rational about it.

Suppose you modestly supported yourself and your family by operating a winery, and your wines sold materially better in larger bottles and with a cute animal on the label. Would you do it? That's probably closer to the real question.

[And I'm not saying for sure that would be the case. It probably depends a lot on the wine and its customer base. But supposed it were the case . . .]

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Re: Bottle weight

#7 Post by Steve Anderson » July 30th, 2019, 10:20 am

I'd be happy if all wine bottles were the size of those used by Dirty and Rowdy. Easy to handle and they fit in any wine fridge slot.

Although I've not declined to purchase any particular wine based on bottle size, I love the bottles that fit in the standard racks in my Vinotemp. Those that don't fit end up in cardboard boxes in my offsite locker and are often a pain in the butt to access/retrieve.

I'm a bit surprised at the references to Bedrock, as I don't consider them to be a heavy bottle. I have a few bottles of the 2008 Syrahs remaining, which are in wider bottles, but I believe releases after that all fit in standard racks. I don't have an empty bottle to compare, but just pulled a bottle of a 2011 Bedrock Syrah and it seemed no heavier than any other bottle of its type in my VT.

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Re: Bottle weight

#8 Post by RichardFlack » July 30th, 2019, 10:23 am

I guess the good folks at Ch Lafita (for example) don’t know marketing?

Personally I take oversized or overweight bottles as a warning of the marketing being higher priority than the wine making. An upscale version of critter labels.

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Re: Bottle weight

#9 Post by GregT » July 30th, 2019, 10:24 am

Agreed.

Lafite may be a little different as there is a lot of marketing behind brand Bordeaux.

In any event, do customers prowl wine stores looking for heavy bottles?

Label design and color can be more effective.

Once you've made the commitment to big bottles and you've built a brand, it's too late. But if you start out by building your brand using other methods . . .
Last edited by GregT on July 30th, 2019, 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bottle weight

#10 Post by GregT » July 30th, 2019, 10:26 am

Dupe
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Re: Bottle weight

#11 Post by Chris Seiber » July 30th, 2019, 12:32 pm

RichardFlack wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 10:23 am
I guess the good folks at Ch Lafita (for example) don’t know marketing?

Personally I take oversized or overweight bottles as a warning of the marketing being higher priority than the wine making. An upscale version of critter labels.
There are also plenty of traditional and prestigious producers in Burgundy and Champagne who use oversized bottles (in the case of Champagne, I mean substantially oversized or overly wide compared to what is reasonably necessary for Champagne). It's not only the Belle Glos and Alto Moncayo type stuff.

I think we all agree that (1) we aren't more impressed with large bottles, (2) we prefer bottles that fit in standard racks, and (3) we care about what's inside the bottle. That's easy, and we all know it's what we're supposed to say.

But I have to stop short of maligning people and companies that do what they think best to sell their products. Marketing and packaging do often matter in the sale of retail products, whether we think they should or not.

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Re: Bottle weight

#12 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 30th, 2019, 12:43 pm

I hate oversized bottles as much as everyone else, but this isn't the target community for marketing.
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Re: Bottle weight

#13 Post by RickieM » July 30th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:32 pm
RichardFlack wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 10:23 am
I guess the good folks at Ch Lafita (for example) don’t know marketing?

Personally I take oversized or overweight bottles as a warning of the marketing being higher priority than the wine making. An upscale version of critter labels.
There are also plenty of traditional and prestigious producers in Burgundy and Champagne who use oversized bottles (in the case of Champagne, I mean substantially oversized or overly wide compared to what is reasonably necessary for Champagne). It's not only the Belle Glos and Alto Moncayo type stuff.

I think we all agree that (1) we aren't more impressed with large bottles, (2) we prefer bottles that fit in standard racks, and (3) we care about what's inside the bottle. That's easy, and we all know it's what we're supposed to say.

But I have to stop short of maligning people and companies that do what they think best to sell their products. Marketing and packaging do often matter in the sale of retail products, whether we think they should or not.
True, people in this forum overall would know wines a lot better than the average consumer and wouldn't be swayed by the type of bottle. But less knowledgeable ones who are looking for something "special" might be influenced by a heavier or larger bottle. Or a bottle with a raised emblem (like Tablas Creek) or a wax capsule.

And those purchasing a wax capsule bottle as a gift could care less about the consternation the recipient will have when trying to open it.
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Re: Bottle weight

#14 Post by larry schaffer » July 30th, 2019, 12:51 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:43 pm
I hate oversized bottles as much as everyone else, but this isn't the target community for marketing.
This.

There is no doubt that 'perception' comes into play here. Would The Prisoner sell as well if it were in a lighter claret bottle? My guess is no . . .

Kudos to Tablas for their efforts and for leading the pack - as usual . . .

Cheers.
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Re: Bottle weight

#15 Post by H Wallace Jr » July 30th, 2019, 1:25 pm

GregT wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 10:24 am
In any event, do customers prowl wine stores looking for heavy bottles?
Though many may not specifically seek heavy bottles, when they pick one up, consciously or subconsciously, bottle weight sends a message to them- for some, it equals "more" and more = better, and for others heavy weight equals "luxury" and luxury = raised status.
GregT wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 10:24 am
Once you've made the commitment to big bottles and you've built a brand, it's too late. But if you start out by building your brand using other methods . . .
I don't think it is too late for anyone to make a change, like the info in the Tablas link, they made a significant change to their packaging (cutting their weight almost in 1/2 on their top tier wine). I not only applaud them for doing it, but for calculating the data from the last 10yrs, and using that positive impact to forward their brand.

We have used a light (470-490gr), domestically produced bottle since day 1. It was in large part an environmental choice, but I'd be fooling myself if it wasn't also a major marketing decision-- as is every decision to do with packaging. Bottle weight / size may not matter to everyone, but to those it matters to, we want it to be noticed (like Steve mentioned above).
RickieM wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:44 pm
True, people in this forum overall would know wines a lot better than the average consumer and wouldn't be swayed by the type of bottle.
Even if that is the case, what % of the domestic wines purchased by or sought out by people on the forum come in a heavier type of bottle? >50%? >75%? >90%?
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Re: Bottle weight

#16 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » July 30th, 2019, 2:47 pm

Jeff_M. wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 9:11 am
Turley immediately comes to mind. Love the wine, despise the bottles.
This is *the* reason I don't buy Turley.
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Re: Bottle weight

#17 Post by Joe B » July 30th, 2019, 4:03 pm

MBerto wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 9:23 am
I think Morgan has addressed this in the past - given the price point of a lot his wines, it helps to have a nice big bottle for market perception. It's an unfortunate reality that you have to deal with - I've heard other winemarkers say the same thing with respect to screw caps - can't sell a $50 wine with a screw cap, regardless of quality. Perhaps in the future then can do a screw cap plastic bottle for us in the know, and something that doubles as a bludgeon for the simpletons in the retail/restaurant market.
Everybody knows that it isn’t the bottle weight/size or screw top/ cork.

It’s the label that sells wine.
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Re: Bottle weight

#18 Post by Wes Barton » July 30th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Wineries should consider customer retention in their decision process. The bigger is better thing might work for awhile, but if the model to to sell a large portion to regular customers, we've seen what happens in these threads. It gets old once you have a ton of these things to contend with in your cellar. It's often the tie breaker when people are trimming their purchasing, because of that. People also comment they buy less from these producers, like go for the "essentials", but are less likely to order other stuff.

We've seen a number of producers switch to lighter glass over the years. It makes sense, with the right timing, switching would be the right business decision. You landed the customers with the shrimp dick compensation image stuff, they've amassed enough that the inconveniences are adding up, then you market the switch as being green and all that, and they feel good about the green, and notice how easy to handle and store the bottles are and unthinkingly appreciate it.
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Re: Bottle weight

#19 Post by Craig G » July 30th, 2019, 4:53 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:43 pm
I hate oversized bottles as much as everyone else, but this isn't the target community for marketing.
Are you sure? Lots of SQN and PYCM buyers here.
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Re: Bottle weight

#20 Post by Glenn P » July 30th, 2019, 5:13 pm

After heavy bottles lets get rid of corks too! (Just had a corked ‘01 Harlan!)

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Re: Bottle weight

#21 Post by GregT » July 30th, 2019, 5:35 pm

We have used a light (470-490gr), domestically produced bottle since day 1. It was in large part an environmental choice, but I'd be fooling myself if it wasn't also a major marketing decision-- as is every decision to do with packaging. Bottle weight / size may not matter to everyone, but to those it matters to, we want it to be noticed (like Steve mentioned above).
And kudos to you! Good choice! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Bottle weight

#22 Post by S. Rash » July 30th, 2019, 6:27 pm

Bottle weight and size will never determine whether I buy a wine or not!! I buy the wine for the wine.
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Re: Bottle weight

#23 Post by Scott G r u n e r » July 30th, 2019, 6:40 pm

Many of these biggest offenders big ass bottles are on wines that never hit (or rarely hit or dont rely on) retail. SQN? Turley (sure the juveniles maybe).

Marketing at retail is a strawman argument for a large percentage of these offenders
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Re: Bottle weight

#24 Post by RichardFlack » July 31st, 2019, 7:22 am

RickieM wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:44 pm
Chris Seiber wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 12:32 pm
RichardFlack wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 10:23 am
I guess the good folks at Ch Lafita (for example) don’t know marketing?

Personally I take oversized or overweight bottles as a warning of the marketing being higher priority than the wine making. An upscale version of critter labels.
There are also plenty of traditional and prestigious producers in Burgundy and Champagne who use oversized bottles (in the case of Champagne, I mean substantially oversized or overly wide compared to what is reasonably necessary for Champagne). It's not only the Belle Glos and Alto Moncayo type stuff.

I think we all agree that (1) we aren't more imypressed with large bottles, (2) we prefer bottles that fit in standard racks, and (3) we care about what's inside the bottle. That's easy, and we all know it's what we're supposed to say.

But I have to stop short of maligning people and companies that do what they think best to sell their products. Marketing and packaging do often matter in the sale of retail products, whether we think they should or not.
True, people in this forum overall would know wines a lot better than the average consumer and wouldn't be swayed by the type of bottle. But less knowledgeable ones who are looking for something "special" might be influenced by a heavier or larger bottle. Or a bottle with a raised emblem (like Tablas Creek) or a wax capsule.

And those purchasing a wax capsule bottle as a gift could care less about the consternation the recipient will have when trying to open it.
Having finally been shown how to open a wax capsuled bottle I’d say they are slightly easier than foil. (Just place palm of your hand over the top for a few moments to soften the wax and insert the screw through it, the cork should emerge cleanly through the soft wax).

Of course screw cap is the easiest. [stirthepothal.gif]

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Re: Bottle weight

#25 Post by Chris Seiber » July 31st, 2019, 7:32 am

Wes Barton wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 4:49 pm
We've seen a number of producers switch to lighter glass over the years. It makes sense, with the right timing, switching would be the right business decision. You landed the customers with the shrimp dick compensation image stuff, they've amassed enough that the inconveniences are adding up, then you market the switch as being green and all that, and they feel good about the green, and notice how easy to handle and store the bottles are and unthinkingly appreciate it.
Perfectly said.

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Re: Bottle weight

#26 Post by Chris Seiber » July 31st, 2019, 7:34 am

Joe B wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 4:03 pm
Everybody knows that it isn’t the bottle weight/size or screw top/ cork.

It’s the label that sells wine.
I thought it was points?

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Re: Bottle weight

#27 Post by Joe B » July 31st, 2019, 8:36 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 7:34 am
Joe B wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 4:03 pm
Everybody knows that it isn’t the bottle weight/size or screw top/ cork.

It’s the label that sells wine.
I thought it was points?
Real points are awarded after the label is printed and slapped on the overly heavy, oddly shaped bottle.
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Re: Bottle weight

#28 Post by Andrew Dodd » July 31st, 2019, 9:05 am

The one saving grace is thicker glass is more durable and less likely to brake if you drop it.

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Re: Bottle weight

#29 Post by John Morris » July 31st, 2019, 9:42 am

Andrew Dodd wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 9:05 am
The one saving grace is thicker glass is more durable and less likely to brake if you drop it.
Also less likely to break. neener
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Re: Bottle weight

#30 Post by Andrew Ing » July 31st, 2019, 9:49 am

I will take the risk of wine breaking if I drop it. I would love to be able to fit more bottles in my wine fridge. Unless it's something I can't do without, I will pass on a winery with huge bottles that hog my chilled real estate.
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Re: Bottle weight

#31 Post by Dale Williams » July 31st, 2019, 10:03 am

Wow, if you want heavier bottles because they are less likely to break when you drop them, you should figure out why you are dropping them!

I just had the heaviest still 750 bottle I’ve ever seen- 2 lbs 12 ounces empty. 2012 Maravalle Francisioni ”1897 Tenuta Vitalonga” Some kind of super-Umbrian blend.

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Re: Bottle weight

#32 Post by Wes Barton » July 31st, 2019, 1:56 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 10:03 am
Wow, if you want heavier bottles because they are less likely to break when you drop them, you should figure out why you are dropping them!
Is it the people who buy them tend to have small hands?
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Re: Bottle weight

#33 Post by GregT » July 31st, 2019, 2:44 pm

Compensating?
Having finally been shown how to open a wax capsuled bottle I’d say they are slightly easier than foil. (Just place palm of your hand over the top for a few moments to soften the wax and insert the screw through it, the cork should emerge cleanly through the soft wax).
Dude - Try that with a wax capsule that's been on for 25 years. You'll be there for a week with sweaty palms, all to no avail. You gotta chip those off.
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Re: Bottle weight

#34 Post by R Roberts » July 31st, 2019, 7:33 pm

Energy expenditure to move heavy glass aside, at least glass is easily recyclable. Styro shippers I find egregiously unacceptable, especially when the wine never has to leave NorCal for me. I'll be dropping long supported producers this year for those unwilling to make the change.
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Re: Bottle weight

#35 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » July 31st, 2019, 7:54 pm

One often neglected point about heavy bottles is that they are really nasty to work with on a bottling line. If you’re dumping glass and stacking pallets all day, adding 5-10 lb to each case makes things a lot more tiring. Also, specialty glass of any kind is not only more expensive but also harder to replace at short notice.
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Re: Bottle weight

#36 Post by alan weinberg » July 31st, 2019, 8:06 pm

while I hate the heavy bottles, I still buy the wines if I like them (Colin-Morey), but I won’t buy the weird-shaped bottles—Château La Gardine, for example.

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Re: Bottle weight

#37 Post by Wes Barton » July 31st, 2019, 9:36 pm

Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 7:54 pm
One often neglected point about heavy bottles is that they are really nasty to work with on a bottling line. If you’re dumping glass and stacking pallets all day, adding 5-10 lb to each case makes things a lot more tiring. Also, specialty glass of any kind is not only more expensive but also harder to replace at short notice.
We've done even quite a bit heavier than that. Always someone's custom crush client. And, seemingly never anyone who actually works a bottling line. I've suggested charging the clients a $10/case premium for the bottling crew to have to deal with that.

Another cost factor is storage and handling services charge per pallet. Standard Burg bottles are 56 cases per pallet. (Over a buttload.) While the larger Burg bottles are 44 cases per pallet. (Ironically, less than a buttload.)
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Re: Bottle weight

#38 Post by Jeremy Holmes » July 31st, 2019, 10:04 pm

Pierre-Yves Colin (PYCM) uses heavy bottles for a reason. They are non recycled glass and he believes that the larger corks he uses seats properly in such a bottle. He is very much aware of premox and wants to minimize the risk.
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Re: Bottle weight

#39 Post by Andrew Morris » July 31st, 2019, 10:59 pm

Jeremy Holmes wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 10:04 pm
Pierre-Yves Colin (PYCM) uses heavy bottles for a reason. They are non recycled glass and he believes that the larger corks he uses seats properly in such a bottle. He is very much aware of premox and wants to minimize the risk.
That is a reason, but most likely not one supported by any real science.

Long corks and heavy bottles are linked in people's minds to expensive wine. Expensive wine is linked to quality in the same people's minds.
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Re: Bottle weight

#40 Post by Jeremy Holmes » August 1st, 2019, 12:27 am

I hear what you are saying Andrew, just trying to convey what I understood from what Pierre-Yves told me. He is not the type of chap to need heavy bottles and long corks to portray the quality of the wine he makes.

He is doing something right, as I can't ever recall having an oxidised wine from him.
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Re: Bottle weight

#41 Post by J a y H a c k » August 1st, 2019, 11:11 am

deadhorse deadhorse deadhorse

I just love it when newbies rehash old ideas I had. [swearing.gif] [soap.gif] [stirthepothal.gif]

Just kidding.

I started a bottle shaming thread years ago about Pax 1.0. I suggested that everyone weigh their empty bottles and post the weight so we could shame the wineries. I remember one person posted a weight (I think it was Au Bon Climat) and the immediate response was "you were supposed to drink the wine first," but it turned out the bottle was empty.

I know a number of wineries that responded and said they were transitioning to lighter bottles and then actually followed through. Neither Pax 2.0 nor Donelan use the big fat heavy things and I seem to have less trouble shoving bottles into my racking than I used to. If we could only deal with Saxum and SQN, I would be satisfied. Shrader used to be a big heavy one as well, but since they sold out to the conglomerate, I solved that problem by no longer buying from them.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

You can read my Financial Institutions Law Blog at https://www.gdblaw.com/blog?practiceID=4985.

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