The launch of Tread Lightly by Backsberg

tlThe last two weeks have been a tremendously exciting, if not manic time at the farm. We have launched a new brand called Tread Lightly by Backsberg. It’s the first certified wine bottled in PET, in South Africa. I have been running around doing a range of radio, newspaper, magazine and TV interviews around the launch. So far there has been a really positive reaction to the product, which is great. The wine is currently available exclusively through leading retailer Pick n Pay. I’ve visited a number of the stores and it’s amazing to see the buzz around the wines and the new packaging. I have posted the press release that we have sent out below.

Backsberg launches its new wine brand in a soft bottle

Cape Town, 15 july 2010:   Backsberg – the first SA winery to achieve carbon neutral status – is again making history.  Its new wine brand, Tread Lightly, embodies Backsberg’s philosophy of care and respect for the land.

“The enjoyment of a great bottle of wine should never be at the cost of the environment”, says Backsberg proprietor, Michael Back. “Whether by measurable process or by intuitive approach, every step we take in producing our wines must be challenged. The packaging and transport of wine contributes significantly to our carbon footprint and therefore needs to be addressed.”

Tackling this issue head on, Tread Lightly by Backsberg will be the first certified wine sold in the new, innovative PET soft bottle produced by Mondi. Tread Lightly Merlot 2008 and Sauvignon Blanc 2010 varietals are bottled in a lightweight, stylish, PET soft bottle. Following the recent approval by The Wine and Spirit Board to bottle certified natural wine in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Tread Lightly is spearheading what will surely become commonplace in the near future.

Backsberg has partnered with Pick n Pay, the first retailer to sell the new innovative PET soft wine bottle, for the launch of Tread Lightly by Backsberg.  Pick n Pay Director of Sustainable Development, Bronwen Rohland says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Backsberg on this very exciting initiative. As South Africa’s largest food retailer, Pick n Pay is committed to minimising its environmental impact through various recycling and packaging initiatives, and this project fits our overarching environmental strategy perfectly.”  Customers can look forward to seeing these fine wines on shelf in selected Pick n Pay stores and liquor outlets from the end of July.

The Tread Lightly PET soft bottle adds the benefit of convenience due to its lightweight and shatterproof qualities. Tread Lightly and the eco-friendly bottle is another way in which Backsberg respects the environment without compromising the quality and enjoyment of their wines.

•    Available exclusively at Pick n Pay, the Tread Lightly Merlot will be priced at R49.99 and the Sauvignon Blanc at R39.99 and will be on sale from late July.
•    The Tread Lightly soft bottle delivers all the aesthetic qualities of glass, making it a stylish choice for outdoor entertaining at festivals, picnics, boating, beach parties and braais where traditional glass bottles are either unsafe or not permitted.
•    PET is fully recyclable and easily crushable.
•    Manufacturing of the soft bottles leads to a reduced net energy consumption of up to 50% when compared with glass.
•    Packing of beverages in PET reduces energy consumption by 52% vs glass and metal.
•    Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 55%.through the use of PET compared to glass
•    A 750ml PET wine bottle weighs 50g compared to the average 400g lightweight glass wine bottle – i.e. PET is an eighth of the weight of glass.
•    The reduced weight and diameter of the PET bottle allows for up to 36% more product to be transported in the same container space.
•    This is the first time PET has been used for certified wine in South Africa. Other products that have been bottled in PET include water, milk and energy drinks.
•    The PET soft bottle has no effect on the quality of the wine.
•    The Tread Lightly by Backsberg soft bottle holds 750ml of wine – the same as a glass bottle.

You can download a copy of the press release here, as well as packshots of the Tread Lightly Sauvignon Blanc 2010 here and of the Tread Lightly Merlot 2008 here. SB

  • Ghanatulip
    Posted at 16:53h, 06 August Reply

    My big question about ‘Tread Lightly’, are the bottles certified BPA free

  • Simon Back
    Posted at 09:05h, 13 August Reply

    @Ghanatulip Thanks for your comment. The PET bottles are not, as such, certified BPA free. This is because BPA is not used in the manufacture of PET resin, PET preforms or PET bottles. PET used for food and drink applications is in a very pure form, free from any plasicisers or added stabilizers.

    In this regard, I’ve seen some confusing statements and occasionally factual errors appear, even in respected publications. Suffice to say, that no harmful chemicals has been detected in measurable amounts from PET under any condition of use. The PET bottle has been cleared as safe for food and beverage contact by health and regulatory agencies around the world, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and the EU’s Food Safety Authority.

    I hope this helps. Give me a shout if you have further questions. SB

  • Kevin
    Posted at 18:01h, 19 September Reply

    My concern is packaging alcohol in plastic bottles is much different from packaging food. Do you have an extractables and leachable profile of the product. Alcohol is a strong solvent.

  • Simon Back
    Posted at 18:54h, 19 September Reply

    @Kevin on the question of leaching, it is a concern that we take very seriously. The PET bottle we are using has gone through a number of health and regulatory agencies around the world including the US FDA, Health Canada and the EU’s Food Safety Authority. To my understanding, part of the US FDA testing includes putting a 50 percent alcohol solution in the PET bottle for different periods of time, and under different conditions i.e. temperatures and then testing the solution afterward for any leaching. The US FDA has approved the PET bottle for amongst other things, the bottling of wine. SB

  • Two Hands
    Posted at 01:51h, 16 June Reply

    PET bottles are now one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution on land and in the ocean. how will you stop your bottles becoming part of the problem?

    Wouldn’t approaches like refillable bottling systems combined with bottle deposits be a better “green” option?

    • Simon Back
      Posted at 17:26h, 06 July Reply

      Thank you for the comment. Indeed, pollution on the one hand, on all fronts, together with low recycling rates are major concerns.

      From our side, we decided to go with PET bottles on the back of looking at the life cycle of the PET bottle, in terms of Carbon Emissions compared to other bottles, and the PET bottle overall comes out favourably. The PET bottle that we have used is also fully recyclable.

      In terms of the wine industry, in terms of glass, there is some refilling going on. For most individual farms, the equipment would be prohibitively expensive. The critical question is to ensure hygiene standards are met before refilling. The other practical consideration, say if you compare it to the beer industry, is that there are an inordinate number of different bottles out there, versus say a handful of beer bottle types, making the question of some kind of centralised deposit system quite tricky.

      In terms of refilling PET wine bottles a concern would be around the effectiveness of the oxygen scavenger layer in the bottle itself which has a limited shelf life, after which you run into issues around oxidation.

      That said we are also on the look out for solutions to reduce packaging and waste, so maybe in the future different options around refilling will be available.

  • Lynette Cilliers
    Posted at 22:30h, 11 December Reply

    Hi Michael. I graduated in 2009 as a chef from TCA. We made our own wine from Backsberg which I am keeping until 2012 to open the first. So chuffed to say i am working in Namibia for Wilderness Safaris as Food & Beverage Manager and we recently brought in the Tread lightly range for our outdoor excursions and its wonderful. Congrads on being the first in SA… and Thank you

    • Simon Back
      Posted at 16:05h, 14 December Reply

      Hi Lynette, thanks you for you note. I will pass it on to my father. Congrats on your F&B position, and brilliant stuff regarding getting in the Tread Lightly. Keep in touch, and please drop by the farm, next time you are in the Cape. Simon

  • Stan Hayman
    Posted at 14:08h, 20 March Reply

    Where can you buy the Tread Lightly wine in Durban? I visited Pick n Pay Hypermarket and they only have Backsberg bottles.

    • Simon Back
      Posted at 17:30h, 28 March Reply

      Hi Stan, thanks for getting in touch. The wines are available at Durban Hyper North. Sent you a further email as well. Best, Simon

    Posted at 15:14h, 05 April Reply

    Will look hard for this wine, sounds good.

    • Simon Back
      Posted at 15:28h, 10 April Reply

      Hi Tricia, thanks for the comment. Where are you based? SB

  • Karl
    Posted at 15:40h, 25 April Reply

    where can I find this in Roodepoort Gauteng area

    • Simon Back
      Posted at 18:51h, 26 April Reply

      Hi Karl, the wines are available at Checkers Hyper in Roodepoort. Enjoy the long weekend. Simon

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