Open letter: climate emergency and what the wine industry can do

This came out a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t spot any activity in here about it - which surprised me as I thought it might be something people would be interested or have opinions on.

The Wine Society are a reasonably large group of consumers - is it practical for members to petition office holders to apply pressure to the industry to reduce bottle weight?


Speaking only for myself, I’m a little ‘climate-change’ jaded at the moment!


Thanks for highlighting this open letter. I am sure in the short term a reduction in glass bottle weight can only be a good thing in reducing the carbon footprint of the wine (and spirits) industry.

Looking to the future, are there any more radical solutions for fine wine out there? Bags, cans and fill your own containers are great ideas for cheaper bulk wines, but what about fine wines? Are there any experiments out there by fine wine houses?

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There are better uses of one’s time than to get worked up over bottle weights. If it really bothers, then don’t buy.

The difference in weight between a heavy and light bottle is not going to make a ha’penth worth.

As for bulk shipped- you buy if you want, but I am doing my best to avoid them


Points 1 and 2 are just more bureaucracy to add to the costs of wine and which consumers will ignore. Bottle deposits would only have a marginal effect on point 3.

With current high freight rates I would have thought ‘food miles’ more important and by that I mean that buying wine from Europe should save plenty of emissions compared with transporting wine from the new world.

I would rather wine writers stick to writing about wine rather than trying to change the world.

It’s not just the miles you need to consider. More details in another thread, but the carbon footprint of a wine from Portugal or Italy is potentially higher than one from Australia due to how they get here.


Indeed, but I believe in the old KISS rule (keep it simple stupid).

Most people need a very simple metric so food miles suit me.

The recycling industry already has considerably more green glass than it can use. We bring in a lot of green glass in german lager bottles and in wine. Unfortunately we don’t have large domestic industries to consume it, the way we can unload clear glass.

One thing that could happen is that we bring in bulk wine in in tankers and bottle it here. I don’t know if that actually happens to any extent now, but it would be cheaper and greener to import that way and use up that glass, so 3 birds with one stone. Can see the upmarket producers wouldn’t swallow it, but it would be interesting to know where cheap wine gets bottled, because that is the volume end of the market. Jancis should be encouraging that.

I’m intrigued that we have too much green glass, can it not be ‘decoloured’ or made into brown bottles?

It wasn’t that long ago that the UK wine industry did import in bulk and bottle here, vintage port being a prime example.
The nearest that I know to your suggestion is the bottling plant at Avonmouth, Europe’s biggest. Containers which I think hold about 25,000 litres of ‘everyday’ Australian wine are bottled there.

“Accolade Wines use the facility to import, process, package and distribute wine for the UK market, providing around one in five bottles supplied into the UK market from this property or circa 300 million bottles a year.”

Could we not just start using green glass?

I mean, don’t get me wrong here, but it really seems like the human race is fiddling whilst Rome is consumed by the inferno. There will always be philosophical barriers to doing anything. Perhaps we should just start doing something?


Now wine delivered by a tanker I am interested in…I’m imagining it being a bit like the truck that delivers my oil but with say “La Rioja Alta” written on the side rather than Barton Petroleum…I’d have to leave the gate and garage open for him to pump it in to my own tank and then the next evening I’d turn the tap on and away I’d go…

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Have a read of this thread :slight_smile:

There is a LOT of information on this thread detailing how wine currently comes into this country in large flexitanks and batch bottled here . It’s a HUGE industry .

Also worth looking at this video;

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Now I’d be interested in a tanker that turned up with the word ‘Barton’ on the side…preferably with ‘Leoville’ before it…


I wonder whether local councils are one of the villains in the question of bottle recycling?

Here is a quote from our local council’s website:-
Businesses may ask any registered waste disposal company to collect their waste. Commercial waste cannot be taken to the county council household recycling centres, they are not licensed to receive it.”

So most pubs and restuarants buy plastic bags from a waste disposal company and leave their bottles in them to be sent to landfill.

I know one local Chinese restaurant where at the end of evening service a couple of teenage waitresses took a ‘borrowed’ supermerket trolley full of empty bottles over the car park to the bottle bank recycling bins. Not only did it save them the waste disposal cost, it helped the environment.


This is one of the problems. No two councils seem to have the same recycling policy. We are told to separate certain items for collection which are then thrown into the recycling lorry together :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I know this is a bit of a digress from the OP.

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