After nearly two years in development, Maison Ruinart, one of France’s oldest champagne houses, has launched its revolutionary Second Skin eco-packaging, a plastic-free, 100% recyclable paper case, set for its US debut this April.
This sustainable alternative is nine times lighter than the original box and reduces the carbon footprint by 60% in comparison with the current generation of Ruinart boxes.
Like a second skin, the new case envelopes itself around the iconic, century-old curves of the Ruinart bottle. The chic design is intentionally silky yet textured to the touch, evoking the look and feel of Crayères – the historic chalk-pit cellars of the Maison in Reims, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Created from paper from eco-managed European forests, the entirely recyclable cloak is the result of a partnership between the champagne house and its packaging manufacturing partners, Pusterla 1880 and James Cropper. Together they set about creating an eco-alternative to the standard box used to house champagne bottles that was both elegant and didn’t take away from the experience or taste.
“The challenge was to imagine a unique packaging that reflects the spirit of Maison Ruinart [and] is recyclable and leaves no waste behind,” said Phil Wild, president at James Cropper. After rigorous testing and seven prototypes, the team developed a case that is both impermeable to any light and can retain its integrity even when placed within an ice bucket.
The launch of the Second Skin eco-packaging forms part of a larger sustainability initiative by the champagne house that includes the introduction of solar panels and LED lighting, a zero-air-freight policy and a 98.7% waste-recycling record. Ruinart is also among a small but growing group of champagne producers that have been officially recognized for their commitment to sustainable production by being awarded France’s Viticulture Durable en Champagne certification.
Frederic Panaiotis, cellar master at Maison Ruinart, says: “Climate change is already happening in the vineyards. The champagne terroir is the source of our wines’ excellence: we have a responsibility to protect and preserve this natural environment.”
Ruinart hopes its new design will offer a sustainable alternative to an entire industry. That’s something likely to please the Comite Champagne, which oversees the industry and has indicated its desire to have 100% of champagne producers Viticulture Durable en Champagne-certified by 2030.