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Australian Bladders Become New Normal for Wine Exports

on 31/01/13 at 10:34 am


ImageHardys became the U.K.’s best- selling Australian wine by selling bottles for as little as 3.40 pounds ($5) in the face of a rising domestic currency. To do that and still earn a profit, the winemaker turned to plastic bags — 24,000-liter plastic bags.

Accolade Wines, the maker of Hardys, pared shipping costs that can amount to as much as $3 a case by eliminating glass bottles and shipping the alcohol in bladders. After the 10,000 mile (16,000 kilometers) journey, the wine is bottled at a plant next to a scrap merchant a two-hour drive from London.

Australia’s A$5.5 billion ($5.8 billion) wine industry is now moving more than half its overseas shipments in bulk, making the 40-day journey to Europe in bladders big enough to fill 32,000 bottles. It’s reshaping logistics and the flow of wine between the country, the largest exporter outside of Europe, and the U.K., the biggest net importer.

“We don’t ship glass around the world, we ship wine,” Richard Lloyd, global manufacturing director for Accolade, said by e-mail.