From grape to glass – working with the English Wine Industry

23 Jun 2020

Rewind the clock a decade or two and nobody had heard of any English Wines. To be fair, who knew wine making grapes could even be grown in England?!

Hambledon, who planted their first vineyard in 1951, marked a turning point for the history of wine growing in Great Britain. Indeed, it was the first vineyard to be planted to produce wine for sale since the one at Castle Coch in 1875*.

Now, from the South Coast to the Northern reaches of Yorkshire, vineyards are producing a lot of bottles – 13.2m bottles of wine in 2018 with a predicted output of 40m bottles by 2040.

The industry generated £49 billion in economic activity in 2018 and, whilst visiting has been temporarily halted, a good number of vineyards warmly welcome visitors; some by just calling in, some by pre-booked tours. Some have even diversified into restaurants and accommodations such as Holmfirth Vineyard, the highest vineyard in the UK on the Schevling Estate on the edge of the Pennines. At 840 ft above sea level it can be a very bleak place and yet vines grow there quite happily under the encouragement and expertise of the team.

It was about 15 years ago that Boxes and Packaging began to work with some of the first commercial vineyards in the South and, as the market diversified, so have we. We’ve gone from producing simple transit packaging to allow movement of product from vineyard to retail environments, to mass scale production of those boxes, gift packs, seasonal promotions, point of sale, shelf ready and most latterly e-commerce.

In 2020, as people have been forced to socialise and enjoy food and drink at home, more and more wine drinkers have begun to try English Wines. A great social media campaign #EnglishWineNight takes place each Friday between 7 and 8pm and encourages people to try a new English wine, or simply indulge in a favourite that they have discovered.

We work with vineyards to provide packaging solutions across all parts of their retail offering meaning their hard work, skill and fantastic products can make it all the way from grape to glass.

Taking wine to the market place

In its simplest form, we design outer transit boxes so that wines, both sparkling and still can be transported, typically in units of 6, to retail environments. This may be the onsite wine cellar, it may be a bespoke wine merchant, it may be a large supermarket. Whatever the market, we work with our customers to ensure the solution is fit for purpose and allows the product to arrive intact minimising product damage and the costs associated with this.

Such solutions can allow the wine to be shipped vertically or horizontally as deemed appropriate by the producer so that the corks can be kept damp if required, or distribution and supply channels can be accommodated.

A fitting divide

Within packs there is often the need for fittings or dividers. These can give added protection to bottle necks and keep bottles separate when they are in multi bottle boxes such as transit boxes.

We can also provide fittings and dividers for other, less typical, box solutions. Perhaps a carry home pack of a red, white and sparkling wine from a vineyard. Perhaps a particular year’s vintage in a special shelf ready pack. Perhaps a box of six that is shipped through ecommerce channels but gives a fantastic unboxing experience by the customer or gift recipient.

You may have clear ideas on how you want to market your product, or you may wish for us to use our creative flair and expertise in the sector to create a new and innovative pack. Either way, with our professionalism, product and industry knowledge – both ours and yours – we can form a winning partnership to help the UK wine industry grow and prosper.

The perfect gift

Wine always makes a great gift and no more so than an English wine. Whether you would like single bottle gift packs, gifts for seasonal or special occasions, presentation packs, corporate gifts, wine hampers, tasting packs or combination gift packs where your wine complements another product, we have created many solutions in this field.

High quality print, innovative designs – that not only protect product but represent your brand – and packs that create talking points ; we’ve done them all and are always happy to work with you to design packs bespoke to your vineyard, product and brand.

English Wine has predominantly been recognised for its sparkling wine but there are an ever-increasing number of vineyards that are now moving into still wine production now that they grape type and harvest permits.

And, as consumers look to try new wines at home this summer, and perhaps choose to buy this through ecommerce channels as well as from supermarkets and independent retailers; the UK Wine sector continues to choose corrugated and Boxes and Packaging as their preferred partner.

As a patron of WineGB we are proud to support the industry that is thriving and developing and playing such an important part in the wine, tourism and retail sectors of the GB economy.

*All facts and stats courtesy of WineGB

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