It’s August. Summer in the northern hemisphere. It’s hot. There’s sun. These are not friendly conditions for wine bottles, and they’ve historically been an obstacle for wine shippers and consumers.
There is an inelegant dance going on here: alternative addresses, weather holds, ice packs, insulation, that white stuff (which is actually called expanded polystyrene or EPS). Then we do it all over again in reverse for winter deliveries, in order to protect from cold.
Employees at Liviri noticed these snags in their own personal lives, particularly when many of them had wine shipped to the office, rather than have it cook on the sunny porch all day long. Liviri is a brand within Otter Products, well-known for the Otter Box mobile phone cases that seem to withstand anything. At the time, the company’s key product was Liviri Fresh, a box designed to safely ship meal kits and specialty perishables.
“As experts in thermal and rugged protection, we saw an opportunity to help eliminate the waste of single-use shippers,” recalls Brian Jacoby, Liviri’s senior vice president. “Our product management team began to look for other industries that had similar packaging and shipping pain points.”
Wine, as it turns out, had the pain points. The idea of Liviri Vino was born.
Liviri Vino is a wine shipping cooler-slash-container designed for ground shipping, available in four- and six-bottle configurations, kept separate by padding. Reusable coolant inserts and insulation stabilize the temperature for five to seven days inside the box. The company worked with the FedEx Packaging Lab on the design to be sure it is durable and fits into the delivery network appropriately.
Vino is totally reusable, which makes it not only functional, but also sustainable. The Liviri team engaged environmental consultancy thinkstep Inc. to perform a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify the environmental impact of Vino. “Even with two legs of ground transportation, considering the return shipment, Liviri Vino outperformed single-use shippers in seven out of nine factors.” Jacoby says the remaining two factors were considered “even” because they were within the 10% margin of error. (The full report is available at the linked text above.)
“Liviri Vino had the most favorable results on ozone depletion, due to its ability to reduce air shipping, and blue water consumption, due to the amount of water that is consumed in the production of corrugated materials,” explains Jacoby.
Aside from the durability and sustainability advantages, it’s quite easy to use and there’s no packaging left behind for home recycling or trash collection. “Consumers receive their wine at their doorstep in Liviri Vino, open the box, remove their wine, put the return label on the box, schedule a pickup and send it back to the winery, then enjoy their wine,” says Jacoby.
Vino is utilized by certain wineries and warehouses, so at the moment it’s not something that a consumer can choose to employ unless the shipper initiates it.
Michael Ploetz is the estate director for Alejandro Bulgheroni Napa Valley, and he says consumers have responded favorably to discovering Bulgheroni Wines on their doorstep in a Vino box: “Our clients are delighted to find that we took the same care and concern we employ in our production to our packaging and shipments,” says Ploetz. “The container conveys our dedication to ensuring the highest quality experience possible using today’s latest technology while maintaining our goals towards sustainability.”
As an added measure, the Bulgheroni team even includes temperature sensors in each box, to “let our clients know for certain how the wine fared from our cellar to their doorstep.”