Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wine in a Box = Smaller Carbon Footprint

Look for an increasing number of wines to become available in boxes. Yes, boxes. The economic and environmental advantages of putting wine in a box are currently being touted throughout the wine industry. For example, Tyler Colman (a.k.a., "Dr. Vino") in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times (Aug. 17, 2008) writes:

"More than 90 percent of American wine production occurs on the West Coast, but because the majority of consumers live east of the Mississippi, a large part of carbon-dioxide emissions associated with wine comes from simply trucking it from the vineyard to tables on the East Coast.... Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars."
Facts such as these are motivating wine producers concerned about reducing their carbon footprints to think more seriously about using boxes.

Another advantage of boxed wine is that the wine comes in an air-tight bag, which deflates as it is drained. In contrast to a bottled wine that lasts for only a day or two after being opened, an opened box of wine can last for up to four weeks.

Granted, boxed wines have a bad image--due to the fact that widely available boxed wines are of extremely low quality. However, consumers should look for an increasing number of wine producers to put higher quality wines in boxes in the near future.

If you're thinking that you can't imagine a sommelier presenting you with a box of wine at a five-star restaurant, remember that wine boxes are not intended for wines that require aging. They are for the 90% or more of all wines consumed in the U.S. that are intended to be consumed without aging.

Interested readers can find out more about boxed wines at: http://boxedwinespot.blogspot.com/.

1 comment:

contact said...

Interesting idea but not entirely accurate. When you consider the cost of manufacturing on the environment and the legacy of producing a packaging product with little recyclable content — I believe the carbon gap would be closer when comparing bottles and cork - both highly re-cyclable or even up-cyclable products.

The argument that it keeps longer is moot at my house, an open bottle never goes bad - and certainly never starts bad either :-)