The sustainability of wine is now becoming a topic of discussion around the globe. Vineyards and what happens within their midst are crucial to how we think about the quality of a wine design, and a focus on sustainability naturally has an enviable position in this area. But, we are expanding our focus to look at the entire supply chain that goes into wine, from the vineyard to the glass. One issue has been recognized as being crucial to the wines.
Large bottles don’t necessarily indicate higher-quality wine. I promise.
The main obstacle to overcome is that you, as a customer, can assist us with. A long-standing belief that a large wine bottle is a sign of a higher quality wine. If you shell out $100 for a prestigious Napa Cab or Mendoza Malbec, many consumers are looking for the item it comes in to be of sufficient weight to be used for weight training even when empty. It’s not just the fact that the relationship between the importance bottle’s weight and wine quality is a myth but also a disaster for how much carbon emissions the wine leaves.
A typical glass bottle is responsible for 40% of the wine’s carbon footprint. You can significantly reduce this by using lighter bottle weights. A standard bottle weighs 540 grams (19 oz), a “true” lightweight weight wine bottle weighs less than 425 g (15 pounds), and heavier bottles can weigh over 700 g (25 oz) to 990 grams (32 ounces). Although light-weight bottles were once known to have an extremely high rate of breakage, that’s no longer the case, and there is no reason why a bottle has to be over 500 grams unless it’s for marketing purposes to appeal to consumers’ tastes. Champagne bottles are attractive since they must withstand the equivalent pressure of the bus tire.
The carbon footprints of wine bottles are split between transportation and production. The farther it must travel between the winery and from it to the vineyard, the more weight is a factor. (Funny enough, the distance may be less significant than the transport method used to transport it – ships traveling long distances may have the same or less carbon footprint as bottles that travel via trucks across Europe or the USA). However, even when the glass manufacturer is next door, and your sales are all coming from the cellar, A heavier bottle requires more energy than a lighter bottle.
Glass has an enormous advantage because it is a completely recyclable material. To be recycled to make brand-new glass, the used glass must be returned to the glass maker. Recycling rates can vary among countries, with the most impressive numbers being for Scandinavia (shoutout to all my family and friends!) with 97-98 percent. In my country of birth, the USA, only a third of glass bottles go to recycling. Not all of it goes to the production of new glass. Most of it is used as filler for constructing new roads (read further about it here). The number of recycled glass bottles in Europe the percentage is in the range of 74%, while in Australia 46 percent.
In Australia, it has been reported that 40% of the consumed glass bottles are recycled to recycling.
Ultimately, there is ZERO need for a great wine to be packaged in a bulky bottle.
Bottles weighing as little as 400 grams are robust enough to stand up during transport and allow you to age your wine. Of course, it’s essential to have lighter weights in the wine we consume regularly, including the quantity you purchase from supermarkets. However, consumers who make the connection between a bottle’s weight and quality is why numerous wineries are changing to lighter bottles, regardless of price.
Do you want to be in the process of making the change?
Be aware of this when choosing your wine, and don’t hesitate to call your preferred wineries, significant or not, and let them know you’d be happy to have an incredibly small re-design in their bottles. A bonus is the lesser weight to take home from the wine shop and less weight for the bin to recycle.
Although changing bottles to lighter glass weights could be the most beneficial decision for the wine industry, There are other options, too. The wine glass bottle isn’t going to disappear in my lifetime. However, different types have a less carbon footprint.
Pop a can at your next backyard BBQ!
My top pick among so-called “alternative packagings” are the cans. Like glass, aluminum can be completely recyclable and inert. That means it will not interact with wine or alter the wine. The carbon footprint for the can is around 70 percent lower than the standard glass bottle for each Liter of wine packaged. It’s a lightweight, practical design that, while not a must for purists, is quite appealing to younger wine drinkers. Gen Z and the millennials who drink wine are more concerned with the environment than preserving the old-fashioned way of drinking.
I’m older than these, yet I’ve been sold on the concept. It’s time to break the association between cheap wines and cans. The best cans in this category are high quality enough to be with the top wine writers and sommeliers. Take a look at these stylish cans made by Swedish startup Djuice. Djuice isn’t a producer of wine but rather a brand. They collaborate with producers of sustainable wines, making high-quality wine into cans featuring unique designs created by selected artists. They look fantastic, taste amazing, and are like a new take on the category that’s not prone to changes.
Canned DJUICE wines are a Swedish brand founded to provide excellent wines while helping the natural environment.
Cans aren’t the best container for wine aging as the container is totally hermetic (consequently requiring the winemaker to lower their sulfite levels to prevent wines from getting more reductive). However, if you are looking for fresh rose and white sparkling wines, orange wines or lighter, fruity reds are excellent. Please place it in the picnic bag, throw it into the ice cube at a celebration, or enjoy a drink at a party with a clear conscience. Simply drop the can into the recycling bin when you’re done.