Independent wine merchants could be the battlefield for alternatives to bottles

Independent wine merchants might not look like a battleground, but in the years to come they could prove to be just that as the different types of packaging that are possible for wine come to the fore.

The classic 75cl bottle is still the preferred option for the vast majority of wine drinkers in the UK, but alternatives have been steadily gaining ground.

Already, many independent wine merchants offer different glass bottle sizes, such as individual servings or half-litre bottles.

But industry analyst Wine Intelligence says there are still more variations coming into general acceptance, such as plastic bottles and cartons.

These new entrants complement existing and widely accepted options like bag-in-box servings for larger quantities, which many Britons buy on occasion.

"This is not a debate that will be played out in any laboratory - it's one that's happening around the UK, in the grocery aisles and across dining tables," says Wine Intelligence's associate director for publishing Graham Holter.

But he admits: "The UK bottle culture is not going to be smashed overnight," instead calling for a dialogue between producers and customers to drive future shifts in wine packaging.