02 June 2008

South Australian Vintners to Make Green Wine

Australian Food News reports that South Australia's wine makers and grape growers are the first industry group in the Australia to sign an agreement to accurately track and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. South Australia state legislation targets 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. The wine makers and grape growers associations have committed to support that goal.

What Consumers (and Tesco) Want

This action reflects concern that consumers and distributors across the globe are beginning to favor wine makers that are actively reducing their carbon footprint. "The UK is Australia's largest wine export destination. Of the nearly A$1 billion of Australian wines sold in the UK each year, South Australian wines make up a massive 72% of that market," said South Australia Premier Mike Rann. "South Australia exports nearly 400 million liters -- or A$1.6 billion of wine -- annually. Put simply, the wine industry is recognizing today that it cannot afford to ignore the planet or their markets." He went on to say, according to the article: "Sir Terry Leahy, the Chief Executive of Tesco, was recently reported saying that he wanted to devise a system of labeling that would enable shoppers to compare a product's carbon footprint just as easily as they can currently compare its price or nutritional value. I am told that Marks & Spencer has similar plans, as does the US shopping chain Wal-Mart."

Will They Give Up the Bottle?

A recent analysis (pdf here) calculated that transporting a bottle of wine from Australia or France to Chicago caused the emission of about 2 kg of CO2. A large fraction of this is due to the weight of the glass bottle.

Transportation is responsible for most of wine's emissions footprint. And I didn't see any analysis in this report about the energy needed to produce that bottle (glass is energy-intensive). Will vintners down under switch to more energy-efficient boxes?

(A post about wine in Tetra Pak containers, and CO2 savings.)

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