The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report left us in no doubt: a 1.5°C temperature increase is now inevitable. Wasteful industrial practices have got us here, and it’s time to act now to prevent further increases.
Why does it matter? Rising sea levels; melting glaciers; disrupted weather patterns; fires; droughts; floods… Do we really need to go on?
Let’s look at it from a wine industry perspective. Warmer temperatures means better ripening for grapes surely?
In Northerly regions, sure. But for the heartlands of traditional winemaking regions – France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, California – it’s a real problem. Recent research has indicated that if temperatures keep climbing and we hit a 2°C increase, we could lose half of the world’s current wine growing areas. They’ll simply be too hot and too dry to sustain vines.
We can plant more heat resistant varieties. We can shield grapes from the sun with effective canopy management. We can pick the grapes earlier and earlier in the season.
But none of this will stop temperatures rising. We need to be actively reducing our greenhouse emissions: in the wine trade, packaging and distribution are by far and away the biggest contributors to these. Packaging alone is responsible for an estimated 34-56% of the global warming potential per bottle of wine.
So what can we do?
We need to be transporting more wine in bulk: why ship hundreds of thousands of tonnes of glass when so many wines can easily be bottled in their final market?
We need to be using better packaging options: glass is heavy, energy intensive to produce and recycle and definitely shouldn’t be treated as a single use resource.
We need to be prioritising wines from producers who are taking active steps to reduce emissions from their vineyards and wineries.
At Sustainable Wine Solutions we are directly tackling these key challenges.
- We ship our wine in bulk from sustainably minded producers to be bottled and kegged at our winery hub in North Greenwich.
- We use entirely reusable kegs for our wine-on-tap systems. We operate a Bottle Return scheme to get an estimated 30 uses out of each glass bottle.
- We deliver with zero extra packaging: no plastic wrap or cardboard.
- We use electric vans within the M25 area.
- We do simultaneous collections and deliveries, eliminating empty journeys and cutting any transport emissions in half.
- We maintain our kegs carefully, keeping them in use for years.
- We recycle only at the absolute end of a product’s life – we don’t send used or damaged kegs and bottles to landfill.
We all have to do our part. We’re committed to the principles of the circular economy, eliminating waste and emissions and minimising use of our precious natural resources. Everyone can make a start somewhere: we’d recommend starting with your wine list. Get in touch today to find out more about Wine-on-Tap and Bottle Return can help your business be sustainable and proud. Cheers to the environment!