The “Classics” range from Australian winery Jacob’s Creek is widely available in supermarkets across the UK and Ireland. Hitting the shelves over the next few weeks will be the same old “Classics” range, except with one big difference. From now on, instead of being bottled in Australia where the wine is produced, it will be bottled in the UK.
The all-important question(s): will regular drinkers of the brand notice the difference, and do they even care?
Jacobs Creek say that the change is purely down to environmental reasons, which I find hard to believe, but here’s, quite simply, how the change is a green one. Instead of pulling tonnes of heavy glass half way around the world, the wine is transported in giant stainless steel tanks and then bottled in the country that it is to be sold in.
The move helps the brand reduce its carbon footprint by 23%. The use of lighter bottles and more recyclable material has also contributed to this positive figure. There are fewer facilities that are able to use recycled glass to bottle in Australia, but in the UK around 95% of the glass used can be recycled.
Jacobs Creek have assured customers that the move will not affect product quality and they have taken careful, meticulous steps to ensure the change over will go unnoticed to the everyday drinker. I would imagine this will be achieved as they are experts in consistency at this level.
I always encourage people not to have too much brand loyalty when it comes to wine, because there’s just too much you’re missing out on if you’re drinking the same thing week in week out. Unfortunately if you only have access to supermarket wines, everything starts to taste the same after a while. But is this method of producing wine in one country and bottling it in another a good thing or a bad thing?
Personally, for the cheap bulk brands and the Jacobs Creek* of this world, I think it’s a good thing. It makes total sense and it ultimately can cut costs allowing producers and retailers to deliver better value (provided the quality stacks up). The environmental benefits are a worthy plus point, of course.
More food for thought: Would it work for the mid-range wines (€10-€20 retail) or the even pricier wines? Would you insist that it is bottled within yards of where it was grown? Would you pay €20 for a bottle of red Burgundy that was bottled in Slough?
Would you notice the difference?
*Please note that I actually rate Jacobs Creek very highly. At the mid-range and higher end they offer some good value and even great wines. This post is only focused on the other part of their business, which is aimed at the major supermarkets and thus the mass markets of the world. As such the wines will have less character, but their strength will lie in their ability to deliver consistency and reliability.
it’s been happening already with lots of wines. The giveaway is the back label, a bottled at XYYYX code.
However, it’s not a new concept, the best wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy used to come here in barrel. Mitchell’s in Dublin used to bottle theirs themselves.
But with modern technology being what it is, it shouldn’t make too much difference, but perhaps it takes the romance away.
Will the price of the wine come down as a result of the savings in shipping or is it all about greater margin?
And I agree, Jacob’s Creek make some great wine. Their Steingarten Riesling is gorgeous but it tips the €20 mark.
Indeed, a lot of the higher volume wines. Our Paarl Heights range from South Africa is the same. Didn’t stop the previous vintage of the Chenin Blanc scooping a Gold Medal at the Sommelier Wine Awards last year, so maybe that goes to prove again that we should be completely cool about the concept.
The fact is, the vast, vast majority of people know no different, and probably don’t really care around this price. But I do wonder if I had a customer in looking to spend 20 quid on a bottle, and I told them it was bottled in the UK, what would they think? Maybe I’ll say it to them for fun some day and see the reaction! :D