Best Alternative Format or Sustainable Packaging Design & National Wine Centre of Australia People’s Choice Award

Greenskin Wine Red Medley Pack

Photo: Kim McKee and Mike Davies

Greenskin Wine focused on three key elements when developing their brand: the quality of the wine, the practicality of the pouch and the sustainability of the packaging.

The pouch is compact, lightweight, tough and chills quickly. “People love it because they want to drink good wine and bottles are a pest,” said co-owner Kim McKee.

“The most important thing to understand [about] the sustainability of these pouches is that they take so little energy to produce compared to glass – less than 20 per cent. A truckload of empty pouches is the equivalent of 26 truckloads of empty bottles,” said co-founder Mike Davies.

“Whenever we send out full pouches they are still 60% of the weight and the space of glass bottles. That’s the real sustainability win – in that there’s the energy saved by using them.”

Whilst the reduction in emissions was a notable element of Greenskin’s sustainability endeavours, Davies said that it was difficult to convey the impact of this to consumers because it did not have the same visible impact as other measures such as recycling.

“We knew we needed to have the recycling option,” said Davies.

“We closed the loop,” explained McKee, “people love that bit because they are doing something themselves about it. Every six pack has a green envelope with it that you just pop the empties in, put them in the mail – we pay the postage…and they’re 100% recycled, including the envelope.”

“There isn’t a wine business like this in the world,” said Davies.

He said one of the challenges with the recycling system is that in order for it to work, they had to sell the wine in packs of six. “A lot of people don’t want to buy six packs of a wine they’ve never tried.”

To combat this, Greenskin introduced medley packs, which Davies describes as “like the old Kellogg’s variety pack”, which offer a selection of whites or reds, or both.

The design was originally born out of necessity. “Kim and I are pretty keen sailors,” said Davies, “so we spend a lot of time on boats. In that environment, glass just doesn’t work.” As they developed the idea, it became clear that pouches were a convenient packaging option for many different lifestyles.

Greenskin are completely paperless, instead utilising QR codes and their website to convey important information to consumers.

“Rather than putting a spiel on each of the labels, on the pouches we decided to do it the QR code way,” said McKee. The accompanying message reads: “Every wine has a story, scan here to read mine”. The QR code then directs the customer to a webpage specific to that wine, where information can be found on the wine’s origin, year and winemaker, as well as tasting notes. Customers can then re-order the wine from that same webpage. This allows Greenskin to update the information in real-time when the wines receive reviews or awards.

Selling direct to consumer enables Greenskin to ensure the sustainability of transportation, but it also grants them a direct line to their customers, allowing them to engage with questions and demonstrate their customer focus.

“Once it’s in a bottle shop, you lose that intimacy and that knowledge about who’s buying it,” said McKee. “We’ve really tried to build a community, not just a brand.”

McKee also explained that using premium wine was also a non-negotiable, “because of that horrible goon reputation” associated with certain cask wines. “Putting sub-standard wine in just would have failed,” she said.

McKee said it is great to see the industry embracing change. “We’re proving there is a demand for it. We’re conscious of not only the practicality, but also the eco side, and winning awards like this really helps. We feel really honoured to be awarded, because it shows that an industry that is quite traditional is looking at alternatives.”

“It helps the consumers have more choice, and it helps the industry think outside the box. Because we need everyone to be thinking more sustainably going forward.”