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What do you get when you have a man who was owner of an injection molding business and a woman who started a vineyard? How about a son who decided to combine the two?

Heather Caliendo

June 20, 2013

5 Min Read
All in the family: Combining a love for both plastics and wine

What do you get when you have a man who was owner of an injection molding business and a woman who started a vineyard? How about a son who decided to combine the two?

Field Manufacturing Corp. is a Los Angeles-based company that has been manufacturing plastic sign holders and fixtures since 1947. In 1980, Field Vineyards was established by Nina Field and grew to become a wine maker with their awarded estate label, Katarina, which is crafted by noted winemaker Chris Wills.

After his father passed away, Patrick eventually became president of Field Manufacturing and he told PlasticsToday that he wanted to diversify the company from just making sign holders. He got his moment of inspiration following the September 11th attacks.

"In 2001, domestic flights prohibited the stainless butter knife so everyone got a plastic knife," Field said. "I remember getting the knife and thinking how they are really being cautious here, but it's better to be safe than sorry. I then asked for wine with my dinner and I got a glass bottle. That's when I had this epiphany - this was the perfect opportunity to meld the plastic manufacturing and wine businesses together."

Bottlegroup003_0.jpgThat idea inspired Field to create and manufacture the world's first lightweight wine bottle as a project for the airline industry. He designed and began manufacturing 187-ml injection stretch blowmolding bottle for his first winery customer. According to Field, this lightweight bottle was the first to hit the marketplace.

Since then he, along with his business partner Ken Merrill, have expanded their products into several other facets of the wine packaging industry by way of their joint venture, EnVino. Field believes his experience in the plastics industry, coupled with being involved in his family's wine business Field Vineyards, has given him a distinctive competitive advantage in this space.

EnVino's bottles are made out of PET because of its good barrier properties and its recyclability. Field said while they will work with different modified versions of PET, it always serves as the base.

Field said he's passionate about providing wine packaging that is sustainable. For instance, Field said that regular glass bottles make up 49% of shipping weight while EnVino bottles make up only 13%, in addition to 52% less greenhouse gas and 77% less water consumption.

Bringing wine in plastic to the masses

"Wine, unlike beer, never had that many options for packaging," Field said. "So being able to bring plastic packaging to the wine industry can get it to other markets that were tough to penetrate, like sporting venues."

One new development that aims to have wine enjoyed at all types of venues is the Zipz wine packaging. Using proprietary packaging from Zipz Inc., the glasses are made from food-grade PET plastic that is designed to look and feel like traditional glassware. Each Zipz glass is covered in a patented Zipz clean wrap that keeps the wine fresh and the glass clean from handling, which the company believes is a competitive advantage from other single-serve wine packaging. Both the Zipz glass and wrap are 100% recyclable as well.

EnVino produced the plastic wine packaging for Zipz using Husky hot runners, which Field said play an integral part in Zipz_Z_SelectionsPhoto.jpgthe production performance and quality of its products.   

To enjoy a glass of Zipz, the consumer pulls the tap on the Zipz clean wrap to unzip the wrap, remove the lid and then snap the lid on the bottom. From there, they sip away.

"The great thing about Zipz is that it takes the bottle concept to another level with the function of the packaging," Field said. "The lid doesn't just serve as a coaster, but if you're not finished with the wine, the lid can be put back on the top. It's a really unique package, very innovative, and the reception has been great."

Zipz wines can be served anywhere standard glassware is not an option, including stadiums, arenas, convention centers, hotel and resort pool areas and the beach.

Fetzer Vineyards is using the Zipz glass for the Fetzer Crimson Red Blend and Quartz White Blend wines. The collection was launched exclusively in select Major League Baseball stadiums across the country through Aramark and Centerplate, with initial locations including AT&T Park in California and Coors Field in Colorado.

Plastic + wine = a lasting marriage?

Field said he can tell a difference in the perception of wine in PET from when he started in 2001 to now.

"I definitely met resistance along the way," he said. "Over time, the resistance is shrinking. I don't know if that is necessarily due to wineries or more with the evolution of the consumer. I know that consumers have led wineries to open their minds to start thinking outside the box and take on more innovative wine packaging like plastic."

He believes they have only scratched the surface in terms of growth, as several of the bigger wineries still haven't converted to plastic.

In addition, Field said sustainability is at the forefront of innovation, and they are working on incorporating recycled PET as well as bio resins into their packaging.

"We're only at the beginning, I still think over time more wineries will take on plastic packaging," he said. "We're always trying to be on the cutting edge of plastic packaging for wine."

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