There may be a few people around the world who do not like tote bags, but they clearly form part of a very small minority. Tote bags have been around since World War II, but they have become more prominent in recent years as the most logical replacement to the plastic bags that are seldom being given at retail stores. The wine industry has been paying attention to the tote bag trend; to the delight of customers, we are seeing more wineries and shops using reusable tote bags.
There are various reasons why tote bags for wine bottles should be considered by producers and retailers alike. Before we explain these reasons, it helps to understand what makes tote bags so appealing.
Shopping was not the original intent of tote bags, which were first commercialized by L.L. Bean, one of the most quintessentially American brands, as a camping accessory. The first L.L. Bean tote bag was made of heavy canvas that had been treated for maximum water resistance, and their rectangular design was meant to allow campers to carry large blocks of ice, typically from cars to coolers at campgrounds or picnic spots. It did not take long for ingenuous housewives to re-purpose L.L. Bean tote bags from ice carriers to all-around shopping and household solutions.
Evolution of the Tote Bag
In the late 1960s, British model Jane Birkin used to stroll around Paris carrying a basket instead of a purse, and this unusual fashion statement inspired Hermes to design the iconic Birkin bag, which is essentially a stylish version of the L.L. Bean tote bag. Quite a few purses were subsequently designed as variations of Birkin bags, and now you have totes under major fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and others.
The modern take on tote bags used as effective forms of branding and promotion was first envisioned in the early 1980s by The Strand, a highly esteemed bookstore in New York City. The Strand was as large a public library, and it made perfect sense to carry a tote bag within this establishment to deposit all the books you wanted to buy. Before long, New York City residents were spotted carrying The Strand tote bags just about everywhere: To the bodega, the laundromat, the park, work, and school. Seeing the success of this bookstore, competing establishment in all five boroughs set out to design their own tote bags as gifts to their valued customers.
The Birkin bag never went out of style, and neither did the canvas tote bag design created by L.L. Bean. We see tote bags just about everywhere these days; they are often imprinted with logos because the sides of the bags tend to be larger and face the public, thus serving as portable billboards and making them excellent items for promotion. People love the dynamic nature of tote bags, and we can’t forget their high re-usability factor, which is at the forefront of reducing plastic waste around the world.
Tote bags will one day be credited with having been instrumental in the environmental conservation movement. When the world became aware of the grave ecological damage cause by excessive plastic waste, conservation experts issued the following reminders:
- Plastic waste increases by nearly 10% each year.
- It is estimated that plastic waste plays a factor in the deaths of up to a million marine mammals each year.
- Single-use plastic bags can be around for a few centuries before they finally decompose.
- Only about 25% of plastic is recycled.
The elimination of single-use plastic bags such as the ones used by supermarkets for many decades is a step in the right direction of conservation. This is not an inconvenience at all because we have tote bags to carry our groceries in, which in turn means that they have become indispensable items in our lives; we especially like their reusable factor, and marketers see them as superior channels for branding promotion and potential expansion.
The Basics of Wine Bags
Reusable wine bags are a variation of tote bags with characteristics that make them ideal for transporting wine bottles. In essence, wine bags are shaped like upright rectangles equipped with rope-style handles; they can hold between two and six bottles, and they provide plenty of surface space for printing logos, graphics, or lettering.
If we look at the history of wine storage solutions, it is clear to see that the current trend of wine tote bags is part of a natural progression. Wine is a product that has been stored and transported for about 8,000 years; the first containers were made of earthenware and beeswax by ancient Georgian winemakers. The Greek amphora was an improvement that evolved into oak barrels and later glass bottles that were easier to transport inside wooden boxes. Wine skins and flasks were developed as personal containers that were present in many armed conflicts predating World War II.
Wine bags are part of a greater contribution by the wine industry to nature conservation efforts. Winemakers are adopting organic cultivation and harvesting techniques that are easier on the vineyard soil and ecosystem. Wooden and cardboard boxes are being recycled along with glass bottles with greater efficiency. At the retail level, wine sellers are eschewing plastic bags for wine tote bags because they are more eco-friendly and perfect for stimulating brand loyalty.
Advantages of Reusable Wine Bags
As we have already mentioned, the reusable factor of wine bags is what makes them eco-friendly. You could argue that a wine bag made of 100% cotton or hemp fibers is more eco-friendly because of its biodegradable properties, and you would be absolutely right, but you also have to consider that such bags are less durable. A non-woven wine bag made with a polyester and cotton blend will last longer and provide years of reusable value, thus making it sustainable.
Wine retailers can benefit from reusable wine tote bags in the following manners:
- Brand Visibility – You want shoppers to reuse wine bags bearing your brand’s graphic design, and you want them to take the bags everywhere they go in order to make your brand more visible. Keep in mind that your customers are bound to store items such as microphones, tablets, snacks, and even groceries in your bags. Brand Loyalty – Let’s say a winery is open for tours and tasting; this would be a perfect scenario for wine bags to be given at the shop. This is an easy way for winery visitors to remember their experience even after the wines they purchased are finished.
- Customer Appreciation – You know that customers will be using these bags to carry other items; in fact, you want them to do this because of increased brand visibility. Each time they use your branded wine bags, they will be reminded of this nice token of appreciation.
- Aesthetics – Of all tote bags, those designed to store wine bottles are the most stylish. With the right choice of custom graphics, wine bags can add a touch of class to your business.
- Positive Impressions – Wine bags let customers know that you are doing your part to improve sustainability. If you are a brick-and-mortar retailer, you can offer discounts to shoppers who bring their wine bags back when they return for future purchases. Since not all customers will remember to bring their bags along, it helps to have a few paper bags in stock.
When compared to other promotional items, wine bags are not only more functional but also more thoughtful. Depending on the level of customization, wine bags can be quite affordable, and you can also generate some cash flow by charging a small fee for them, but you only want to do this if the bags are very elaborate and packed with features such as insulation.
Get Your Reusable Wine Bags from Mid-Atlantic
We invite you to browse through our catalog and check out the three wine bags we offer, which include non-woven, paper, and jute bags. Our wine bags can be customized for maximum effect; please contact us with questions related to our products and the ordering process.
Over the last four decades, Mid-Atlantic Premier Packaging has been providing the best in packing materials, supplies, and equipment. Our portfolio of clients stretches from the Americas to Europe. In addition to packaging materials and supplies, we also offer custom design services to help you bolster the branding of your business.