Pouch-pack wine pioneer aims to overturn ‘goon-bag’ stigma in eco push

Western Australia start-up Greenskin Wine has launched the nation’s first 100-per-cent recyclable, resealable, glassless way to enjoy wine absolutely anywhere.

Founders Mike Davies and Kim McKee have launched 750ml plastic soft pouches which take less than 20 per cent of the energy needed to produce a normal glass wine bottle. Furthermore, an empty pouch weighs less than 60 per cent of a bottle making it more efficient to ship in terms of emissions.

The pouches are sold online in cartons of six, each including a prepaid mailer bag so consumers can return the empty pouches to Greenskin’s recycling partner, RedCycle in a closed-loop solution.

Davies says Greenskin Wine is disrupting the wine-packaging industry while providing a real solution to the current glass bottle crisis.

“We knew we weren’t the only wine lovers embarking on land and sea adventures who find traditional bottles heavy, bulky, breakable, and very inconvenient to dispose of during and at the end of your adventure,” Davies said. “After storing, carrying, drinking, and disposing of more than our fair share of glass bottles, we wanted to create a product that was not only better suited to the great outdoors but kinder to it. Going glassless was our answer.”

Davies has worked in the wine industry for more than 40 years, for labels including Tyrells, Chapel Hill, and Katnook Estate, before setting up his own award-winning Margaret River winery Sandstone Wines and later creating Portavin, which grew to become Australia’s largest independent wine packaging business.

Key to the success of the pouch concept since its launch on 1 April was ensuring the wine inside was of high quality. Davies and McKee selected high-quality, small runs of wine from respected Western Australian wine producers for their first offering to the market.

“We are mindful of the damage that could be done by filling a new packaging format with sub-standard wine and have been careful not to take that risk,” Davies said.

“Forget your disturbing goon-bag memories of yesteryear, this is all about premium quality wine in a convenient, eco-friendly package,” McKee added, conceding that a few people had initially knocked the plastic bag concept for packaging wine – something previously the domain of four-litre boxed budget wines.

“Yes, goon bags have been around for years, but they have never been 100-per-cent recyclable or filled with premium-quality wine,” McKee said.

The initial Greenskin Wine pouch-packed range comprises Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Rose, Pinot Noir, Syrah and a Cabernet Merlot sourced from WA.

“We’ve designed every pouch to meet our stringent quality standards, so you can expect the same great body, texture and mouthfeel you would get from wines packaged in traditional glass bottles,” McKee said. “Once people have ordered and tried the wine, all feedback has been positive to date. We have not received one negative comment about the wine quality, or the packaging.”

Because Greenskin Wine is producing only small batches of premium-quality wines, the wholesale model, including exports, is not on the radar for now, the company focusing on its online-only direct-to-consumer model.

This story first appeared in our sister publication Inside FMCG