Boisset Family Estates is to export its 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau to the US in plastic bottles.

The company said today (19 November) that it is "breaking with tradition", with the wine from its Mommessin and Bouchard Aîné & Fils wineries, being bottled in lightweight PET plastic bottles.

This will mean a drop in price for the wine. In traditional glass bottles, the company's Beaujolais Nouveaus retailed between US$13.99 and $14.99. In plastic, Boisset said, it expects the retail price to be $12.99.

The move has been introduced in an attempt to protect the environment, the company said, and Boisset Family Estates has chosen Constar International to supply the technology and pre-forms for its 750ml plastic bottles.

Boisett said the bottles are "nearly identical" to glass. However, the lightweight plastic vessels contain an oxygen scavenging technology that keeps oxygen from permeating into the bottle, thereby protecting the flavour, aroma and colour of the wine.

According to Boisset Family Estates president, Jean-Charles Boisset, his winery is the first ever to announce that all of its Beaujolais Nouveau wines imported to North America will be packaged in lightweight PET plastic bottles. "We are committed to reducing the wine world's carbon footprint," he said.

"It is critical in today's time, with the scarcity of our planet's resources and the known environmental impacts of human activity, that we consider whether we should still ship thousands of cases of wine in heavy bottles via air throughout the world in order for the wines to arrive on time for their annual release date in November, when we can reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by more than half through a responsible choice of packaging."