Accolade Wines answer expansion, technology and training questions, while ecoSPIRITS hints at retailer potential, as the two parties give further details on their exciting new partnership.

In a previous statement to press, Accolade Wines had announced that the use of ecoSPIRITS technology for its wines would produce a ‘cost advantage to the on-premise’, and Kaitlyn Tremblay, Banrock Station’s Brand Manager, was on hand to give greater detail.

“The closed loop system has been designed to reduce the overall costs of operation, which in turn helps reduce the cost for the participating on-premise venues,” Tremblay said.

“From what Paul [Gabie, CEO of EcoSPIRITS] has seen with the ecoSPIRITS launches, they have successfully delivered cost reductions ranging from five to 20 per cent in Australian and other markets around the world.”

“We would expect similar cost advantages to be achieved in the wine pilot program.”

Technology and training

As with the introduction of any new technology, training for staff will be key to a successful rollout, and while Tremblay was keen to stress the simplicity of the system, she also stated that “each participating venue will be provided with wine training and operational collaterals for best practices for wine handling.”

Tremblay also told The Shout why Accolade had chosen to lead this pilot with Banrock.

“We chose to launch this partnership with Banrock Station due to the strong alignment with the brand’s existing sustainability goals and our integral and significant investments in long term sustainability. Whilst the financial benefits are one factor, the most significant benefit is the environmental impact which is genuine and of global significance.”

“This partnership is really aligned with our existing efforts at the winery,” Tremblay added.

Expanding the program

Tremblay suggested that other Accolade brands might be brought into the program, in the fullness of time.

“We are interested in exploring this as an option for other Accolade brands, but it will be important to get this initial pilot right before rolling out wider,” Tremblay commented.

“We can’t run before we walk. It’s important that we slowly integrate stakeholders and bring consumers on this journey.”

Andrew Clarke, Accolade Wines’ ANZ Managing Director, also responded to this point, illustrating the progress the company had made this year with wine innovations.

“This year alone, we have launched wine in cans, wine on tap, wine in pouches; now we have a circular sustainable packaging option through our partnership with ecoSPIRITS and the launch of the ecoTOTE in Australia.”

“Accolade Wines is on a mission to make the wine industry more sustainable, and this is one example of how we can work with partners to achieve this,” Clarke commented.

Similarly, Tremblay says, there is the goal of expanding the wine program to other Australian cities, but that the immediate task is ensuring that the trial phase in Sydney is successful.

“We can certainly take learnings from ecoSPIRITS however there will also be significant differences to how the program works for all parties involved when implementing with wine,” Tremblay explained.

“Paul has worked on ecoSPIRITS in other major cities, so we envision one day being able to expand.”

Years in the making

Gabie also spoke to The Shout, revealing the amount of planning that went into this partnership: “Accolade and ecoSPIRITS have been preparing for more than a year for the launch of this closed loop pilot.”

“The partnership was a natural fit – ecoSPIRITS is a global leader in circular packaging technology, and Accolade is global leader in sustainability in wine,” Gabie added.

Gabie struck a similar tone when he explained that the shift from spirits to wines required a long period of R&D for ecoSPIRITS.

“The technology was developed over the course of 24 months.”

“The wine solution draws on ecoSPIRITS’ industry-leading experience in circular spirits, a solution launched in late 2018.  All wine R&D was conducted in house, in consultation with outside experts, winemakers and wine certification organisations. The project was led by Jeremy Moreau, Wine Lead at ecoSPIRITS.”

Gabie stated that ecoSPIRITS consulted with numerous wine makers, including those in both France and Australia, who provided feedback on the development of the ecoSPIRITS circular wine technology.

As Gabie explains, much of this process focussed on the ‘key preservation prerequisites for circular wine’: “Preserving the liquid for oxidation, hygiene, temperature and ultraviolet light. The result is a circular wine that tastes just as wine should, without the single use glass.”

“Wine is an extraordinary, but delicate, liquid.”

Off-premise potential

Like Tremblay and Accolade, Gabie played his cards close to his chest when questioned on the potential for expanding the system to other wine brands in the future, though he did say that Accolade and ecoSPIRITS “both share a hope that this innovation represents the future of all wine distribution.”

Gabie was a little more expressive when it came to the subject of potentially bringing this technology to the off-premise.

“We see tremendous potential in the off-premise channel. There is great interest amongst consumers, retailers and brands to offer circular solutions in the retail environment.”

“Please stay tuned for news from ecoSPIRITS in this area soon.”

Environmental importance

Both Clarke and Gabie were assured of the importance of this technology in securing a sustainable future for the wine industry.

“Everyone is on their own sustainability journey,” Clarke said.

“Our winemaking team is always looking to find new and sustainable ways to bring wine to the world. Not only is our team passionate about keeping wine exciting and continuing to grow the category, but they also have great experience innovating within the industry.”

While Gabie highlighted the scale of the issue facing the industry, and the significanceof programs like ecoSPIRITS circular wine.

“Single use glass is a planet-scale problem, with an estimated 30 billion single use wine bottles produced in 2020 alone,” Gabie said.

“Our vision for the new ecoSPIRITS wine technology, much like our mission as a company, is to lead the industry on a transition to the circular economy. This transition is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Developments and ensuring a sustainable future in wine.”

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