FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- When it comes to wine, you are probably used to hearing red or white?
But entrepreneur Dave Williamson says as it turns out, the latest idea in wine, is "Green."
”The "Green" consumer is getting stronger and stronger. Every single day,“ said Williamson.
Going "Green" is a big part of what Williamson is doing with his Kind Vines label. “I buy wine that is already made, I buy it in bulk and ship it in bulk to Flagstaff where I bottle it and distribute it locally in returnable bottles.“
You heard right, returnable. It is printed right on the bottle, with some tongue in cheek instructions, laughs Williamson, “To buy, enjoy and return. I forgot step four though, which is repeat.”
All joking aside, it’s a process that saves both energy and resources, according to Williamson, “For every wine bottle produced there is 11.4 kilowatt hours of energy that goes into melting sand to make one wine bottle. For every ton of glass produced, there is 384 pounds of waste generated.“
While the "Green" benefits are toast worthy, that is not why Williamson first started bottling Kind Vines; he wanted to build his company, Sustainable Packaging Solutions, by proving to big wineries they could save money by letting him bottle and distribute their product.
"By shipping the wine by bulk to a distribution point you will reduce your transportation costs by at least 60 percent, because you are not shipping the weight of the glass, or bulk of the glass, or the air between the bottles, or the cardboard, anything. “
Williamson said, most wineries did not think it would work.
“So that is why I started Kind Vines to prove people would buy wine in bottles that had been used before.”
Working out of the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Williamson bottles, packages and distributes his wine to Flagstaff Bashas’ stores and local shops.
He then collects the returned bottles; washes and sanitizes them, and starts again.
“My consumer response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Williamson.
With a $2 bottle deposit his return rate is now close to 100 percent.
He hopes that kind of success will bring some Arizona wineries on board that are ready to add a "Green" vintage to their label.
“And we could set an example for the entire industry there is a better way to get your product to the consumer,” said Williamson.
Williamson bottles both a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay. Each bottle is about $10.00, plus that refundable deposit. Right now it is available in the Flagstaff area and at True Food kitchen in Scottsdale.