Let’s be honest, as we get more enthusiastic about learning about wine, the stack of bottles we accumulate gets larger. Do they all have to go straight into the recycling? Not necessarily. There are a surprising number of fun ways to reuse wine bottles that are useful, practical, or beautiful and are a great addition to any wine lover’s home. Read on for some of our favorite tips for reusing your empty wine bottles and do your bit for the planet at the same time.
1. Make striking place settings
Empty bottles can be a great starting point for table settings. Fill them with flowers and greenery and use chalk pens to decorate them with the names of your guests, your menu, or just abstract designs. You can make this as big and bold or as minimalist as you like. Wine bottles in a row look stunning as single-stem vases, or you can go over the top and use voluminous flowers to make a statement display that will wow your guests!
2. Return them to the winery
For some smaller and ecologically conscious wineries, returning empty bottles may be an option. It is possible to wash and sterilize wine bottles for reuse at the next vintage and as well as being an environmentally sound approach, it saves the business a bit of money on the cost of new bottles. More and more wineries are also selling growlers of wine in reusable containers direct from the cellar door. These are also a lovely excuse to get to know your local winemaker a little better, as you go back to refill your growler.
3. An unusual message board
Chalk paint is a blessing for people who want to upcycle items for their homes. Wine bottles look brilliant with a layer of chalk paint on them. You can put them in high traffic areas of your home or put them in the entrance hall to leave messages for one another. They also are extremely useful kept in the kitchen where you can use them to make a note of items you need to add to your shopping list. Put your chalk on a decorative string and hang it around the neck of the bottle to stop it from getting lost.
4. Keep your house plants healthy
This one lets you reuse the cork as well as the bottle. Drill a hole through the center of the cork and reinsert it back into the bottle. Turned upside down and inserted into the soil of the pot you now have an effective slow-release irrigation system that will keep your house plants happy for weeks – even if you forget! This trick can be used on your indoor and outdoor plants (depending on the size of the pot) and it’s easy to see when the bottles are empty and need topping off.
5. Edge the garden, or even build a patio!
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, or you have just had a rather big party, then you might like to reuse empty wine bottles to completely reshape the look of your garden. Inverted wine bottles, sunk into the soil, make a durable and decorative edging for your garden’s borders. Go one level up, and you can use the same technique to create a durable patio. Use different colors of glass to add patterns to your design and be the envy of your friends.
6. An unusual photo frame
Use a white wine bottle with clear glass to display a treasured photo. Take a black and white photocopy and trim it to size so that it will fit around one side of the bottle. Roll it carefully, print inside, around two skewers. Feed the document through the neck of the bottle and use the skewers to carefully unroll the image and maneuver it into place. You can add trinkets, jewelry, shells or any other decoration you like to the exterior of the bottle to enhance the look.
7. Make a festive lantern
Use a cheap string of LED lights from the dollar store to make a cute holiday lantern, by simply unrolling the lights and stuffing them into the bottle! They look great in amongst your Christmas decorations or bedecking a celebratory table! Experiment with different colored fairy lights in different colored glass bottles by mixing up your red and white wines, and you will be able to build up an impactful display in no time at all!
Whatever your skill level, there is a fun and beautiful project out there for you to upcycle your bottles. Let us know in the comments below how you use up your bottles, what are your creative ideas? If that has got you in the mood for creating a few empty wine bottles of your own, then why not try Sweet Oaks wine by ordering from our online shop?