Selection of wine bottles 134190404 800x800 - The size problem

Why should wine still be sold in a 75cl bottle?

A couple of weeks ago my colleague Luis Osorio and I ran our third edition of Wine Intelligence Trends workshops in Madrid and Lisbon. As always it was a great pleasure to share with our clients our latest thinking and to discuss how the wine industry can satisfy an increasingly demanding consumer.

One of the most interesting discussion was around the “Mini” trend. The “Mini” trend is the need for smaller portions in a world where consumers increasingly live in smaller family units and have smaller homes with limited storage. Producers in other categories now offer more convenient packaging to avoid waste following this trend.

The wine industry has to yet find a way to satisfy consumers demand for smaller packaging more suited to their busy lives. Traditional 0.75L glass bottles might once had been convenient for production reasons (the size may have been equivalent to a lungful of the glass blower) or demand issues (it may have been what consumers drank in one sitting back in the day) but currently its size is generally larger than the typical need of one person. Also, to keep the wine in good condition once opened is undoubtedly one of the main problems facing the industry: at best it means consumers are not having “just a glass” limiting more regular yet moderate consumption, at worst it means that consumers are drinking wine which is far from ideal condition days after it has been opened.

Beer has managed to be less “packaging-dependent” and its consumption is accepted in cans or glass almost interchangeably. Individual sized cans are as socially acceptable as are larger units to be used at large gatherings. How can the wine industry learn from this?

Part of the issue remains one of cost. One 75cl bottle incurs less dry goods cost than four mini (18.75cl) bottles, and price sensitive consumers have historically been reluctant to pay more (relatively) for less. However the talk at our workshops, and broader discussions with consumers, suggests that this attitude may be softening in light of the convenience and portability of small formats, and the broader move towards a “one-portion” lifestyle.

The 75cl bottle will remain the industry standard for some time to come, and its natural “sharing” size is actually perfectly aligned with the typical wine drinking moment (social time with close friends and family). However more astute producers will be innovating more in this category, and we can’t wait to see some of the ideas they come up with.

Author: Juan Park


Portugal workshop - The size problem