A greener wine future

8 Jan, 2021

From pledges to packaging, these are some of the best sustainability efforts in wine now.

Brands are getting savvier about lessening their environmental impact and giving back what they take out. Discover some of the initiatives and trends in eco-friendly drinks ahead.

These labels are lowering carbon emissions through tree-planting

Fourth Wave Wine’s Tread Softly plants a tree in Western Australia’s Yarra Yarra corridor for every dozen wines sold. They hit their initial goal of 100,000 trees in October 2020 and are now working towards 250,000. De Bortoli’s 17 Trees range is also planting a tree for every six bottles sold.

This winery is giving back by taking plastic out of our oceans

While several wineries are working to lower carbon emissions, South Australian label The Hidden Sea has taken a different approach by focusing on the ocean.

“This feeds into our heritage, which has been tied to the ocean since the start. Considering where our vineyards are, in South Australia’s Limestone Coast on the great Southern Ocean, it just felt right,” co-founder of the brand Justin Moran explains.

In the past, The Hidden Sea partnered with a roster of causes in this realm but has since streamlined its focus. “We knew after a few years that we needed a clear, quantifiable promise in addition to just awareness and education.”

Hidden Sea Wine bottles on different coloured backgroundsThe Hidden Sea Chardonnay, Rosé and Shiraz.

Today, by buying one bottle of The Hidden Sea, the equivalent of 10 (500ml) plastic bottles will be removed from the ocean and recycled. The company has the bold goal of removing 1 billion plastic bottles from the ocean by 2030, and global partner ReSea Project is holding them to account.

This initiative aids a bushfire-affected region

An increasing number of wine producers are donating sales proceeds to various causes, which means you can help make a difference just by buying a wine. The Adelaide Hills Wine Fire Appeal Syrah Meunier is one example. Made from fruit donated by 21 of the region’s producers, this wine’s proceeds go back into the bushfire-affected community.

Another area where leaps and bounds are being made is in packaging. Those traditionally weighty bottles are a contentious issue for the industry, as they take huge amounts of energy to create and transport. The revival of casks and rise of cans have been promising in this space, but newer developments include bottles made out of recycled paper and plastic.

Frugalpac paper wine bottles in colourful designsFrugalpac paper wine bottles in colourful designs.

This brand produces feather-light bottles out of recycled paper

At the forefront of the paper movement is UK company Frugalpac, which has created wine and spirits bottles using technology similar to a cask, with a plastic liner inside a paper container. Both components are recyclable and reportedly have a carbon footprint six times lower than a standard glass bottle. The first winery to adopt Frugalpac paper bottles is in Italy and the technology is expected to trickle down to the Australian market.

This company makes easy-to-transport bottles out of recycled plastic

Another innovative UK company is Garçon Wines, set to launch in Australia this year with its unconventional flat design. The compact containers reuse plastic that would otherwise become landfill and take significantly less energy to make than a traditional glass bottle. Initially conceived to slide through an average UK letterbox, the space-saving design also allows more bottles to fit into a box or pallet, which, in theory, means fewer delivery trucks on the roads, further reducing emissions. “Taking a smart cross-section design of a traditional Bordeaux bottle and ‘flattening’ it to be just 40mm deep creates unparalleled space savings. In some instances, up to 91 per cent more wine can fit on a pallet,” Eleanor Brooker of Garçon Wines explains.

This extract forms part of the ‘10 wine resolutions’ in issue #56 of Halliday magazine. Become a member to get digital access and see the full story.