Sutter Home's Market Leadership in 187 mL Wines Is Aided by Lightweight PET Bottles

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sutter Home Family Vineyards’ leadership position in the single-serve, 187 mL wine category has been built on innovation, name brand recognition, high-quality, and affordably-priced varietal wines. The family-run U.S. winery made a major packaging switch from glass to lightweight PET bottles from Amcor Rigid Plastics, the world’s leading producer of rigid plastic packaging, according to Wendy Nyberg, senior director of marketing at Sutter Home.


Sutter Home 187



“We have been innovators and taken an ownership stake in the 187 mL category,” explained Nyberg. “We’ve stayed focused on the category and effectively used our brand image  while also offering new varietals and moving to alternative PET packaging that delivers consumer convenience and sustainability benefits,” said Nyberg.



Sutter Home, based in St. Helena, Calif., is the wine industry’s leading producer of single-serve, 187 mL wines with a 38% market share. While the 187 mL wine segment has grown 8.4%/yr, Sutter Home has enjoyed explosive sales with a 7.3% annual growth rate. Total sales of 2.2 million cases is projected in 2011, according to Nyberg. Meanwhile, the overall wine industry (all categories) has grown at a 5% annual clip.

Sutter Home began using Amcor’s barrier PET bottles as a glass replacement in 2005 and has switched its entire 187 mL production to the plastic containers. The bottles preserve the look of the original glass container and run on the winery’s existing glass filling line. “Consumers have embraced PET because of its great look and feel and convenience,” said Nyberg. The aluminum screw-cap bottle’s portability provides an entrĂ©e into venues that do not allow glass because of the potential for breakage. In addition, consumers are impressed with the glass-like appearance and the high quality of the packaging. A unique barrier coating technology developed by Germany’s KHS Plasmax GmbH affords the 187 mL PET container the same shelf life as glass.



The switch to PET also delivered key sustainability benefits in keeping with Sutter Home’s commitment to environmentally responsible practices in all aspects of its wine making operations. PET containers are one-sixth the weight of glass bottles, unbreakable, less wasteful, and recyclable, according to Nyberg.

The 187 mL PET bottle features the KHS Plasmax® Silicon Oxide (SiOx) barrier coating, a glass-like material which seals the container from the inside to protect the contents from oxidation. Plasmax is an FDA-compliant enhanced passive barrier for oxygen-sensitive products. This ultra thin (less than 100 nm) material is transparent and resists cracking, abrasion, and delamination. Moreover, it doesn’t degrade over time nor limit the storage time for empty bottles. The barrier coating is easily removed during the recycling process and does not contaminate the recycling system.


Amcor has solidified the use of lightweight PET bottles for single-serve, 187 mL wine products for not only retail distribution but also airline use. U.S. airlines have strongly adopted PET for its lightweight and sustainability benefits, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and a cost savings.


“We expect continued growth for barrier PET containers in not only 187 mL but a range of package sizes for wine,” said Kerry Drewry, sales manager for Amcor Rigid Plastics.



About Sutter Home Family Vineyards

Sutter Home is the second largest, independent family-run winery in the U.S. The winery’s history dates back to the late 1800's, when a Swiss-German immigrant named John Thomann established a small winery and distillery in the heart of California's Napa Valley. After resurrecting Sutter Home in 1948, the Trinchero family kept the family winery afloat, imbuing it with the values of hard work, ingenuity, and integrity that have characterized the company ever since. The Sutter Home brand became a household name with the creation of white zinfandel in the early 1970’s and the introduction of high-quality, affordably-priced varietal wines during the 1980’s and 1990’s. For more information, visit



About Amcor

Amcor Rigid Plastics is among the world’s largest manufacturers of plastic packaging for the beverage, food, personal and home care, and pharmaceuticals industries with 75 facilities in 13 countries. Amcor Limited is a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, employing more than 35,000 people worldwide, operating in 43 countries across 300 sites. Amcor supplies a broad range of plastic (rigid and flexible), fibre, metal, and glass packaging solutions to enhance the products consumers use in everyday life. Amcor also provides packaging-related services that help customers succeed through collaboration and innovation driven by art and science. Amcor is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.



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