Simple, elegant, and inspired by nature, a new molded-pulp bottle wrap for France’s historic and distinctive Maison Perrier-Jouët champagne house seamlessly marries beauty with the house’s environmental commitment in the luxury market. The thermoform, which gracefully hugs the shape of the champagne bottle, replaces Perrier-Jouët’s existing paperboard carton gift box and features an added nod to the house’s sustainability practices with the inclusion of upcycled vine shoots.
The “Belle Epoque Cocoon” bottle wrap was designed in partnership with packaging supplier James Cropper, using the company’s Colourform molded-pulp packaging process. According to Colourform Brand Manager Richard Dancy, James Cropper uses a thermoforming process commissioned specifically for its facility to create molded-pulp packaging. The process, he explains, allows brands to create custom shapes, colors, and textures, including embellishments such as print, foiling, inclusions, and fiber choices, for their packaging.
When Perrier-Jouët approached James Cropper, the champagne maker wanted a new package design that would challenge the norms of luxury and be a leading example of circularity and recyclability. It also wanted a design that would fully enclose the bottle and enhance its shape, while stopping it from rotating inside the wrap. Another requirement was a clasp on the wrap that would securely lock, lie flat, and close with an audible click, along with a hinge mechanism that would allow the wrap to open and close.
The resulting thermoform, made primarily from virgin paper pulp sourced from FSC-approved, sustainably managed forests, exhibits an organic shape that gently enfolds the bottle. At the top, the golden cap of the bottle is revealed, surrounded by a petal-like, molded-pulp collar. A long, sleek hinge is integrated into the wrap on one side and offers the features specified by Pierre-Jouët.
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Especially unique to the wrap is its use of upcycled vine shoots, which are mixed in with the paper pulp and create a colored, speckled aesthetic. The material was included to evoke the Champagne region terroir and to connect with Pierre-Jouët’s passion for nature and art, passed down through the generations since the house formed in 1811. The vine shoots are recovered after pruning at the end of the harvest in France and are the first cellulose-based winemaking byproduct to be used by James Cropper in its packaging.
According to Dancy, there were no problems related to combining the paper pulp and vine shoots, “but a certain intricacy and specifications had to be met.” He adds, “In this case, the vine shoots supplied had to be finely chopped so that the visible particle flecks within the finished pack were no more than one millimeter in size. We also needed to ensure that during the process, we complied with all the necessary health and safety and legal requirements when working with any new materials.”
At Perrier-Jouët’s request, the bottle wrap is debossed with the brand’s trademark Art Nouveau-inspired Japanese anemone graphic, eliminating the need for print on the bottle. A paper label finishes off the decoration.
Devoid of any varnish or glue, the paper and agricultural waste-based molded-pulp package is 100% curbside recyclable. Another sustainability benefit of the wrap is that, at only 49 g, it is 93% lighter than Perrier-Jouët’s previous gift box. According to Dancy, the reason the weight has been reduced so dramatically is that the wrap design closely aligns with the bottle shape, allowing for a significant reduction in both the size and thickness of the packaging required.
For its part, Perrier-Jouët is jubilant over the outcome of its partnership with James Cropper. “Maison Perrier-Jouët has always been guided by a love of nature. The new sustainable wrap reflects the evolution of this passion, with the house taking sincere, ethical, and lasting action to reduce its impact on nature and sustain the environment,” says Audrey Guerin, packaging development manager at Perrier-Jouët.
“The ultra-light creation represents a huge moment for the brand, since it marks the goal we set out to achieve of having our entire gift offer eco-designed by 2023,” Guerin adds. “We’re delighted to mark the achievement with such a beautifully design that seamlessly showcases how beauty and sustainability can work together in the luxury market.”
The Belle Epoque Cocoon will be used for the house’s vintage cuvees, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque and Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé, in the U.S., France, and Italy.