Health & Medical Food & Drink

How Much Carbon Does Your Wine Use?

If you enjoy fine wine want to help the environment you might like to think about how both at the same time.
Here's some food for thought.
Most wines only spend a few weeks, at most, in a bottle.
Of course a few expensive premium wines are given years of bottle age.
But the vast majority of bottles are emptied very soon after being filled.
Even with 'recycling' a large amount of energy is consumed every time a bottle is used.
The production, packaging and distribution of wine has an environmental impact, just like every thing else we do.
With a little thought we can reduce the carbon footprint of the wine we consume.
The carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service.
These days we are concerned about the effect of human activity on the environment.
We are all aware that using energy in our homes and daily activities can cause increased greenhouse gas emissions.
It's a global problem, but individual actions can make a difference.
As well as the energy we consume directly we should also consider the energy embedded in the products we use.
A recent study has shown that many Australian grapegrowers are using environmentally friendly methods of production.
Some are Biodynamic, many more have organic certification and a majority of Australian wine grape growers tend to use environmentally friendly methods, even though they are not formally certified organic.
The real contribution to greenhouse gas emissions comes from the manufacture of the glass that is used to package the wine.
Making glass is an energy intensive activity.
The raw materials need to be quarried and transported.
Glass is made in a furnace at high temperature - more energy.
Then we use it just once! But what about recycling? When we talk about recycling we mean that the bottles are collected, sorted from other rubbish, and then melted down to make new glass products.
The glass is recycled, not the bottles.
Still a lot of energy used here.
Maybe reuse is the answer.
Some states have a deposit scheme where bottles are collected, and there are a few companies which collect their bottles, wash them and refill them.
But in this case large amounts of water and energy is used in the industrial scale washing facilities.
I think the best solution is to refill your own bottles.
After you have finished the wine, rinse the bottle well and store it until you have a dozen bottles.
You can then refill the bottles from a bulk supply.
This is not a new method.
Throughout the wine regions of Europe people regularly take their containers back to wineries or merchants for refilling.
If you refill your own bottles you can reduce the greenhouse gas emeissions and save money at the same time.
You can spend your money on wine, rather than bottles, packaging, labels and taxes.

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