Social & Environmental responsibility

Ruinart Second Skin Case: innovation for sustainability

Maison Ruinart teams spent over three years developing a disruptive packaging that envelops the champagne bottle like a second skin. The 100% recyclable eco-designed casing perfectly marries the emblematic silhouette of Ruinart’s signature bottles while preserving the integrity of the taste until the moment the elixir is enjoyed. This pioneering achievement is the fruit of a long-term collective commitment by teams at the Champagne house and its partners.

The case is instantly fascinating, with a shape unlike any box currently used by the wines and spirits market. Ruinart’s new packaging is almost other-worldly. As its name – Second Skin – signifies, it perfectly replicates the signature shape of Ruinart bottles, heightening the elegance of the curves as it hugs them. The ethereal lightness of the case, thanks to a construction in 100% cellulose fibers, contrasts with the current imposing norm in the world of champagne. The surface of the second skin evokes the walls of the Crayères de Reims, the ancient chalk quarries and natural wine cellars where Maison Ruinart champagnes age, giving the case a silky, organic feel. The novel coffret opens and closes thanks to a snap fastener to reveal the bottle nestled in its second skin.


In addition to its elegant look, the new packaging is extraordinarily eco-friendly. Eco-designed from start to finish, it is nine times lighter than the previous generation of Ruinart gift boxes (just 40 grams, compared with 360 grams previously). The carbon footprint has been reduced by 60%, and 100% of the paper comes from sustainably managed European forests. What’s more, 91% of the water used is clean enough to be released back into nature after filtering. None of these innovations of course have any effect whatsoever on the unique taste of Ruinart champagnes. Even though it is ultra-thin, the second skin is totally resistant to humidity and service uses. It protects the wines from light as well, which is essential to optimal storage, especially for the clear glass Ruinart Blanc de Blancs bottle.


Maison Ruinart President Frédéric Dufour says the new packaging marks a decisive stage in the Champagne house’s holistic environmental approach:

© Ruinart

“Innovative, authentic and environmentally-conscious, the second skin case crystallizes our commitment to sustainability.”

Priority on preserving the environment

This bold project is a natural outgrowth of the decision by Ruinart’s teams over ten years ago to take sustainability initiatives to another level. An Environmental Performance Index (IPE) was created to measure the impact of all projects within Moët Hennessy, the LVMH Wines & Spirits division. Starting in 2015, Ruinart innovated with the launch of a box that was 50 grams lighter, saving over 200 tons of paper at the time. The same year it eliminated all plastic wrapping from boxes, saving an additional 26 tons of material. Recycling was also improved by making the different packaging materials easy to sort.


The second skin springs from this dynamic, aiming to push even further from the outset. “With the 2015 box we had reached the limits of eco-design for a conventional single bottle case. We wanted to define and invent a new generation of sustainable cases, motivated by a desire to focus on the essential, meaning generating as little waste as possible in order to contribute at our level to protecting the environment, while at the same time protecting our champagnes,” says Marie Lipnitzky, International Brand Manager at Ruinart and Project Manager for the Second Skin Case.

© Ruinart
© Ruinart

Waste and recyclability were the top priorities during the thinking that led to the core concept of the project: the second skin had to have the least possible environmental impact while revealing the curves of the Ruinart bottle. The team quickly decided that only a single material should be employed to ensure easy and total recycling of the packaging. This was joined by a requirement that the case be opaque and have a memorably elegant design that reflects a brand with a reputation for excellence such as Ruinart, all while elevating desirability.

From concept to execution

The brief was submitted to several creative agencies. Among them, Chic instantly won over Ruinart teams with a sleek, refined proposition that perfectly met the specifications. The agency also proposed a single material for the case, cellulose fiber, or paper pulp. The Ruinart Packaging Development department then came on board, working with Procurement to find the right manufacturer to realize the agency’s design. They settled on Pusterla 1880, a box maker with which Ruinart regularly worked, and James Cropper, a British paper specialist.


A long-term collective effort then kicked off as the different contributors compared needs and potential responses to devise a solution consistent with the high expectations of the project. The process proved tremendously inspiring for Ruinart teams, who were completely engaged to execute this groundbreaking innovation in technique and form. “You could feel the intellectual emulation throughout this collective adventure to achieve a shared goal. The designers, the Packaging Development teams, and the manufacturers were all palpably excited by the project,” smiles Marie Lipnitzky.

© Ruinart
© Ruinart

The adventure lasted over three years. No packaging anything like a second skin existed in the market and the team literally began with a blank page.  The engagement of the manufacturers Pusterla 1880 and James Cropper was decisive in developing a case with a level of quality that set a new standard of eco-packaging excellence. The two suppliers reworked the initial design several times to render it compatible with their machines. One of their key contributions to the case was the addition of a 100% paper snap closure on the side, a considerable technical feat.


The second skin’s “Crayères” look and feel were also the work of Pusterla 1880 and James Cropper. Marie Lipnitzky recounts how the idea for the texture came about. “This look was actually inspired by a manufacturing flaw in one of the prototypes. We initially had a smooth surface in mind for the case, but there was a problem with the press, which creased the paper at one place. We thought that it really reminded us of the walls of our Crayères in Reims, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site and an integral part of our own heritage. So we decided to replicate this look for the entire surface of the case. It also gives it a really silky touch that we instantly loved as well.”

Altogether it took seven prototypes to get the perfect result. The case had to be impermeable to light to protect the champagne from light waves. Paper alone, however, is not sufficient to filter out all the light, so additional research and testing had to be done to find a new technique. The cellulose mix was enriched with natural metallic oxide – also used in making certain organic sun protection cosmetics – to reinforce the opacity. Oenological testing was conducted with each new prototype to ensure that the taste of the wine was impeccably preserved.


A series of tests also had to be done to validate technical aspects of the case, in particular the closure, which had to be all-paper to respect the eco-design mandate. The finish of the case, including cutting with a high-pressure waterjet to ensure seamless edges.

© Ruinart

100% eco-responsible packaging and production

The Second Skin Case is manufactured entirely at the James Cropper plant in England, which is located in the small village of Burnside at the edge of the Lake District National Park, a magnificent nature reserve. The park is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and James Cropper has always ensured that its activities respect the environment. This proved a significant asset for Ruinart teams, who had established environmental responsibility as central to the project from its inception.


A paper plant must be located near a river, since water is indispensable to the manufacturing process. The case is repeatedly molded and then pressed to allow the cellulose fiber to solidify around the curves of the bottle before being dried. During the process, 91% of the water used is recycled and is then clean enough to be released back into the river, resulting in very limited consumption. Half of the remaining 9% evaporates as the paper pulp is dried and the other half corresponds to the natural humidity in the case.

© Ruinart
© Ruinart

The Second Skin Case is thus eco-friendly across the value chain. Minimal water consumption by the manufacturing process and the use of a single material both protect the environment. And the paper, 100% of which comes from eco-managed European forests, enables complete and efficient recycling. Plus the case is exceptionally light, weighing in at just 40 grams. All these factors have allowed Ruinart to reduce the carbon footprint of the case by 60% across the entire lifecycle compared with the previous generation of boxes, from sourcing of materials and transformation to transport, delivery and end of life processing.

Packaging codes reinvented

Right from the first look, the new package stands apart from anything previously designed. This bold 180° change was an obvious choice for Ruinart and very much attuned to the times, says Marie Lipnitzky. “We believe this case is completely in phase with our history, returning to what is essential, the very opposite of showy gift boxes. We’re proposing a luxury of tomorrow that is both aware and engaged, while remaining exquisitely aesthetic, elegant and contemporary.”

© Ruinart

A U-turn like this will spur changes in certain habits too. Because the case is resistant to humidity it can be placed in an ice bucket for several hours and remain intact. This means it is not designed to be removed when the champagne is served, introducing a new and even more prestigious serving ritual. Most importantly, the taste and delectable subtleties of Ruinart cuvées are not affected in the least.


Maison Ruinart is also introducing a new way to gift and present champagne. The bottle is no longer hidden but showcased for everyone to see with its iconic form. The second skin becomes an enticing enclosure that opens to reveal the elegance of the flacon inside.

Sustainability is a long-term commitment

This new packaging will ultimately replace all current Ruinart single bottle gift boxes, starting in September 2020 for 75cl bottles sold individually in France and Western Europe, followed by magnums (1.5 liters) in 2021. The Second Skin will envelop the entire Ruinart portfolio by 2022.


Ruinart is avowedly eager to set an example and inspire the entire industry and other sectors to adopt innovative sustainable packaging solutions. “We would be delighted to see this new approach embraced by other wines and spirits brands and even perfumes and cosmetics makers, since it would work equally well for that sector. We believe that an environmentally responsible solution such as this makes a significant contribution. The manufacturing process for this packaging is not patented and we hope that other houses will be motivated to use it as well,” Marie Lipnitzky adds.

© Ruinart
© Ruinart

The Second Skin Case is not an isolated initiative but embedded in Ruinart’s comprehensive commitment to protecting the environment. Viticulture’s products come directly from nature and winemakers thus have a responsibility to protect this natural wealth. Ruinart is the world’s oldest champagne house and a long-term vision to pass on savoir-faire to future generations is part of the Maison’s DNA.


Eco-responsibility figures at the heart of everything Ruinart does. At Maison Ruinart in Reims, 98.7% of waste is recycled and all by-products of the vinification process are 100% recycled. The great majority of packaging materials is sourced from France (87%) or Western Europe (12%) and priority is placed on local sourcing in the Champagne region. All cardboard packaging is certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mixed. Wooden boxes are also made from eco-managed forests, sourced from a supplier that has been awarded the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) label, as have many other Ruinart partners.

© Ruinart

Maison Ruinart pursues a coherent, holistic approach to sustainability. The new Second Skin is the most innovative expression to date of this approach and has proved a tremendously unifying initiative thanks to the teamwork behind this success.


Marie Lipnitzky beams with pride when she looks back at the years spent working on the project: “What marked me most during this adventure is the enthusiasm, collective energy and engagement of absolutely everyone. I think we’re all proud to be part of a Maisons capable of initiatives that concretely address urgent sustainability issues. This project imparted real meaning to our work and the second skin is our contribution at our level to changing things to help build a better future.”

© Ruinart