Recent square wine bottles, designed by Stranger & Stranger for California Square, have been touted by some as an industry first. One headline from Drinks Business Magazine: “World’s first square wine bottle released.”
Stranger & Stranger’s actual claims for their design are less hyperbole and more about the environmental benefits of close-packing…
“Square bottles take up less space but you never see them on the wine shelves. If the wine industry turned over to square instead of round bottles we’d save almost a million trees in outer cardboard boxes alone. Not to mention savings in shipping and storage.”
And, while it’s true that most wines are still bottled in traditional round bottles, there are a few earlier precedents for the idea of wine coming in a square bottle.
Here are 3 of them. (after the fold…)
1. Since around 2007, Chateau de Berne has been selling their wine in a square bottle…
“…now marketing Berne wine in square bottles, having found from an experiment a year or so back that selling a rather good Viognier wine in a special bottle resonated with the public.”
Expats and their Vineyards:
How they have helped drive the market for Provençal wines!
Matuba aims squareness at trendy wine drinkers
Matuba, the new South African wine label launched by Cape Coastal Vineyards earlier this year, has already got heads turning in the wine market around the world.
Not only for its expansive wine selection from the Western Cape’s finest wine regions, but also for the unique and innovative square bottle in which the Matuba Vineyards Specific range of wines are sold. … says Matuba Cellar master Koos Jordaan. “With so many labels in the wine market, we wanted to give the range the recognition it deserves by doing something special with the packaging.” Matuba is the only South African wine in a square bottle, and according to Jordaan possibly the only winery in the world. …The square bottle with rounded edges may be eye-catching modern, but has a classic and stylish appearance.” The search for finding a different bottle that will still appeal to the discerning wine drinker was laborious. Eventually the square 750ml bottle was found in France. “The moment we saw the bottle we knew we had something special that would complement our wines. To date, the reaction from public and trade has been extraordinary; Matuba must be the only winery at wine fairs where people are also interested in collecting the empty bottles!”
3. In 1993, Four Corners Cellars garnered attention for bottling their wine in square bottles. For owner, Leonard A. Cohen—(no, not the folk singer)—the square wine bottle was his solution to the instability of round bottles, stored horizontally.
ROUND HOLE, SQUARE WINE
As the owner of both Four Corner Cellars and The Olde Port Inn restaurant in Avila Beach, Calif., Leonard Cohen is intimately acquainted with the problems of bottling, storing and selling wine. He found that traditional, round wine bottles take up lots of space, are unstable, and often break when stored in their proper horizontal position—a laid-back attitude that keeps the cork from drying out and air from entering to oxidize the wine. So, he designed square wine bottles.
On March I of this year, Four Corners Cellars introduced their 1993 chardonnay in 750 mi. square bottles. The wine is a blend of grapes from Monterey and Santa Barbara counties with a light body, a drop of tropical fruit and just a hint of oak. Other square wines that have been released are a 1993 Pilot Noir, a 1994 pinot blanco (pinot blanc and chardonnay) and a 1994 White Zinfandel. All have labeling painted directly on the bottles. At a time when consumers are overwhelmed with choices, Cohen feels that easy recognition is essential for repeat sales, and this drastic change in styles is very noticeable. The most popular comment Cohen hears about his invention? “Why didn’t anyone think of it before?”
Restaurant Business Magazine, 8/10/95
Congratulations to Leonard Cohen for introducing an idea whose time has come… the square wine bottle (“For One Restaurateur, The Answer is to Square the Bottle,” Sept. 15). As wine is to be stored on its side, round bottles, for all their classical heritage, are simply not practical. If most wines were packaged in Cohen’s square bottle, then anyone could properly store wine, be it one bottle or one thousand. And they would need nothing more elaborate than a bookshelf or kitchen cabinet. Here’s hoping his wine is as good as his bottle.
Wine Spectator, 1994
See also: Square Cigarettes