Home Wine Industry Spotlights Unlocking Winery Efficiency: Bulk Glass Benefits in Cost, Customization and Carbon Reduction

Unlocking Winery Efficiency: Bulk Glass Benefits in Cost, Customization and Carbon Reduction


Wineries pay extra for the convenience of glass bottles delivered in pre-packed boxes, while bulk glass provides significant savings and flexibility. With the costs of bottles, labor, fuel, freight and corrugated packaging rising, wineries increasingly choose to have bulk glass shipped directly from the factory.

Bulk ware eliminates the traditional case repacking costs and associated materials by placing bottles directly on pallets without secondary packaging like corrugated cases with partitions, thus reducing labor costs and time. Bottles are protected by scratch-prevention coating applied at the manufacturing facility, as well as ridged tier sheets between the layers and other packaging safeguards when wrapping the pallet.

The result is a streamlined approach to shipping glass that reduces the labor, materials, and costs of traditional case repacking that wineries can pass along to the end-user.

“Factories are adding more bulk capabilities because we are getting more requests for bulk glass,” says Bobbi Stebbins, the Marketing Director for Waterloo Container. “We have been adding more and more bulk options to our inventory as customers are starting to realize the savings and customization benefits of buying bulk.  While it may not be right for every winery, we have certainly seen its popularity grow in the past decade, and our repack services have expanded to make the most of our ability to procure glass on bulk pallets.”

Bulk Glass Delivers Cost Efficiency

Cost savings are the most compelling reason wineries switch to bulk glass.

For example, a 50,000-case winery can save up to $150,000 annually ($3 per case) by having bulk glass delivered to their winery by a packaging provider experienced in warehousing, forecasting and shipment of this resource. Wineries can gain more savings by working with a provider capable of repacking, which can save an additional $50,000 annually ($1 per case) by eliminating the need to buy outer packaging in bulk. Having the supplier repack the glass could also remove pallet fees.

Finally, they gain additional savings by reducing the square footage of storage space needed. Bulk pallets and flat stock cardboard can be stored in a fraction of the space required by cased ware.

Bulk Glass Enables Customization

Customization is rising in the wine industry, driven by growing consumer expectations that companies will tailor experiences and products to meet their needs and preferences. In the wine industry, that usually means expanding the portfolio to include more varietals and blends, often in smaller batches.

Since the bottles and cases of each product line need to send the desired brand message, bulk glass gives wineries more flexibility to customize by delivering the bottles in bulk directly to the packaging provider for the decorator to print or sleeve, pack them into custom boxes and send them on to the winery, where they arrive ready to fill. Bulk glass can also be re-palletized as cased goods to fit warehouse requirements and accommodate freight restrictions, providing flexibility for diverse product lines.

Bulk Glass Reduces Carbon Footprint

Nancy Irelan, a winemaker and partner at Red Tail Ridge Winery, underscores the eco-friendly advantages of bulk glass for wineries. “Sustainability has always been central to Red Tail Ridge’s ethos, shaping our facilities and vineyard practices, and packaging is no exception. Utilizing bulk bottles from our local distributor, Waterloo Container, lowers our carbon footprint. We can source more bottles per container, drastically reduce the volume of corrugated materials and maximize storage. The result is a more eco-friendly footprint for our valued customers.”

Opting for bulk glass reduces carbon emissions by eliminating a production step and double-handling. Additionally, a fully loaded freight truck carrying bulk glass can transport 10% more glass per trip than cased ware. This increased load capacity maximizes fuel efficiency, especially with advanced freight planning, production management, and sourcing from local providers. Bulk ware also requires less corrugated outer packaging, reducing waste, emissions and raw material consumption. 

Embracing bulk glass not only delivers substantial savings and enhanced flexibility, it also reduces a winery’s carbon footprint. As the popularity of bulk glass continues to grow, experienced packaging providers are stepping up to help wineries unlock the full range of benefits moving to bulk offers.

For more information, reach out to family-owned Waterloo Container at 1-888-539-3922 or its new website at www.waterloocontainer.com.

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