The removal of the sleeves, which the retailer says is a first among supermarkets in the United Kingdom, is being trialled on Waitrose’s own-brand Loved & Found wine range of lesser known grape varieties and wine regions.
Initially four bottles will be sold without neck sleeves, which are officially known as ‘capsules’, and by the end of the year the packaging will be removed from the full range of ten Loved & Found wines, as part of Waitrose’s plans to reduce unnecessary packaging.
Waitrose estimates that removing the capsules on its range of ten Loved and Found wine SKUs alone will save half a tonne of unnecessary packaging per year.
The first four Loved & Found new Waitrose wine SKUs to be sold in the sleeveless bottles are Trincadeira Alentejo, Zibbibo, Mascalese and Lacrima.
In another sustainability move, this year Waitrose converted as many of its small wine bottles as possible to cans, which it claims will cut the carbon footprint per drink by half.
'Great Sustainability Credentials'
"The bottles in our trial will be corked with a new FSC cork, which has been extensively tried and tested for its ability to resist being contaminated with TCA, which makes corks smell and taste mouldy and ruins wine," said Barry Dick, MW and beer, wine and spirit sourcing manager for Waitrose.
He added, "TCA is the reason why cork fell out of favour, but cork has great sustainability credentials, which is why it’s making a comeback.
“The bottles look quite different as the neck appears naked, so it will be interesting to see how our customers react to us removing these familiar sleeves. I, for one, am looking forward to not having to wrestle with the packaging.”