Let's Talk Green Wine

 
 
 
No, I’m not talking about the wine you make for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m talking about “Green” as in the environmental issues facing our time.
 
Scientists are helping us to become more aware of just what it means to be a consumer in today’s world. We are more aware of the effect our consumption is having on this planet and most people are willing to make an effort to help solve this. Whether we are talking about the small things like recycling batteries; outlets for returning paints, which most now are water based; going through the trouble of recycling to reuse and make other products; or just asking our selves “do I really need this Gazinga Pin”.
 
Winemakers have choices that can make a difference -- organic and sustainable farming and understanding just what it means to get wine to our table for our enjoyment.
 
Organic farming consists of growers who emphasize the use of renewable resources, conservation of soil and water. Sustainable farming refers to the ability of a farm to produce wine grapes—indefinitely, without causing severe or irreversible damage to the health of the ecosystem.
 
Grapes, unlike other crops, don’t require large amounts of fertilizer and with the move to eco-farming, the use of chemical fertilizers is being eliminated altogether. Also grape vines absorb some carbon dioxide.
 
The biggest contributor to wine’s carbon footprint? Transportation of products by land, air and sea.
 
Just what is the “carbon footprint” of that bottle of Australian wine sitting on your local wine store shelf?
“A typical bottle of Australian wine is trucked from the winery to port and loaded on a container ship where it begins a Pacific journey of about 35 days to a North American port. The wine is then loaded on a truck or train and shipped to a distribution center where it is finally sent to retail locations. It has been estimated that the total carbon emissions for production and delivery of one 750 ml bottle of wine shipped in this manner is approximately 3.5 kilograms. If the wine is shipped by air these emission numbers soar.” . . . from Canadian Winecrafter
 
Producers are becoming more aware of these issues and are taking steps to help.
 
1) Juice used in the production of wine kits is shipped to the manufacturer in large bulk containers instead of glass bottles greatly reducing carbon emissions.
 
2) The juice is processed and shipped in lightweight plastic bags in cardboard boxes. Most kits are concentrated and the vintner has to add water to make up the correct volume. Water is heavy. Therefore reducing the amount of water contained in a wine kit reduces carbon emissions significantly.
 
3) Wine makers reuse their bottles for ages and ages and cardboard boxes are completely recyclable.
 
4) The energy required to transport wine from the liquor store to your home is something that is often overlooked. It’s possible that you would need to make up to 30 trips to the wine store to consume the same amount of wine that you would make from one wine kit.
 
5) Corks can be reused for crafts and oak can be used as smoke chips for barbecuing.
 
6) Plastic inner bags can be used for ice packs. 
 
Also some regions are developing recycling programs to take these multi layered bags. Ingersoll use to take these bladders and we would store them in giant bins and deliver them to be recycled in the past. Sadly, this has not been the case for the past year. But there is hope. A new recycling plant is being built in London and when the contract expires with the city there is a chance they will once again take the bladders to be recycled. This is a personal interest of mine and one I’m always pursuing for updates.
 
So now you see that when you make your own wine, you can enjoy drinking it with a clear conscience knowing you’re doing your part for the environment. With this in mind, making wine at your local Wine-On-Premise is hands-down the most environmentally friendly way to consume wine.
 

Cheers.