January 19, 2023
The wine sector is changing rapidly. Younger consumers are looking for lower-ABV options, RTD beverages have skyrocketed in popularity, and sustainability is influencing purchasing decisions more than ever: in the UK alone, 70% of wine drinkers aged between 18-34 would buy a wine packaged in a more environmentally-friendly option.
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will host its annual trade show from January 24-26, 2023, in Sacramento, California. As the largest wine and grape trade show in North America, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium brings together over 14,000 industry professionals and over 750 booths. Scholle IPN has been a fixture for years, and we’re thrilled to attend this year’s event as part of SIG.
Together, SIG and Scholle IPN can harness the power of their extensive global portfolio to help brands innovate in the wine sector. It’s clear that the time for innovation is now. According to Mintel statistics:
Scholle IPN has over 40 years of experience working directly with wine customers. We’ll be at Unified to discuss how our expertise in the market and our expanded portfolio under the SIG brand can help you offer more sustainably-designed packaging options. We chatted with Randy Austin, the North American Director of Product Line, and Paul Frank, Regional Commercial Director—who will be at the show—to learn more:
Paul Frank: The Unified Wine Symposium attracts a global audience, and we’ve been a consistent presence at the show for over 20 years—we’d be missed if we weren’t there! Every year, we aim to show the power of our vertically-integrated model and our systems for flexible packaging. That’s where we bring value.
Whether regional or global, we can help wine brands take control over every aspect of the supply chain, not just through vertical integration but through our expanded global presence now that we’re part of SIG.
Randy Austin: To me, what makes the show unique is that you’re not just talking to salespeople. You get everyone who works within the wine industry—from the owners to the people working the line. Everyone who interacts with packaging is there, and we get to catch up, learn, and share innovations and ideas from the last twelve months.
PF: We’ve always brought new technology—from the early days when we had a metalized bag to clear flexible packaging to pouches to FlexTap, which is now our standard retail wine tap. Now, we’re bringing in SIG, who specializes in carton packaging and opens up opportunities for wineries to explore new platforms for sourcing and innovation.
PF: The pandemic put bag-in-box retail into a very compelling space. Bag-in-box allows consumers to pantry load: since you can buy three or five liters at a time, shoppers don’t have to go to the grocery store as often, and bag-in-box wine is shelf-stable.
Of course, consumers are returning to bars and restaurants, but consumers are still purchasing bag-in-box wines—it wasn’t just a pandemic-specific habit. More consumers are looking for value, wines in the $15 range, and bag-in-box delivers an effective product for people looking to save and still get great wine.
RA: We also have seen sustainability stay on consumers’ radars. People want to know they’re doing their part with the purchases they’re making. Flexible packaging does offer a compelling value-add: we use fewer resources and have a low carbon footprint. Consumers are eager to learn more and want to know their packaging choices have an impact.
There are also taste trends to consider. Younger consumers are more health-conscious and are looking for lower-ABV drinks. Flexible packaging works exceptionally well for that market: instead of 12% beers, for example, younger generations are looking for fun, easy-drinking cocktails that aren’t as potent.
RA: We’ll have single-serve cartons in 250- to 500-milliliter sizes. We’ll also have larger cartons, more for ready-to-drink cocktails or mixers—closer to one-liter size. And we’ll have samples and mockups that will give brands a visual idea of what could be and is coming.
RA: Right now, we’re interested in how we can help brands expand into the retail wine segment—that’s where we think SIG is a compelling value-add for brands unfamiliar with the company. Individual-sized cartons, like combidome, can be used for single-serve, wine-based, and ready-to-drink options, which is where we’re seeing massive growth in the industry.
We’re also better together. We understand the industry, but SIG brings speed and efficiency like we’ve never seen. One of the things SIG can do is compete with the bottle and can lines out there today, especially in terms of speed. So for bigger wineries, and really all our clients, it can be an exciting option as a more sustainable—and efficient—alternative to glass bottles.
There’s also our global reach. We have boots on the ground on every continent now, so if one of our clients comes to us and wants to do something in a new market or different country, we can say, “no problem.” We have the team, reach, and expertise to take our clients anywhere they need to go.
Are you ready to explore the future of wine packaging? Come visit us at the Unified Wine Symposium! We’ll be at booth 501.
 Kaczorowski, M. (2022). (publication). A year of innovation in RTD, wine & spirits, 2022. Mintel.