One of the key aspects facing all industry and business at the moment is our carbon footprint. I must admit that I drive approximately 60,000 kilometres per year and fly within Europe at least 12 times per year and further afield (Australia/South Africa/China)once a year. Modern life dictates that to do business on a global scale...even with Skype, conference calling, video links, email and texts....you need to travel and see clients. I have not assessed my carbon footprint but it would be an interesting project!
My issue that I would like to address is within the wine trade: Bottles and packaging.
I use glass bottles for all the wines that I sell from Bordeaux, Rhone and the Languedoc.
The 'established' wine drinker likes glass bottles; Whether this is through habit, custom or just through not knowing anything different. But we are in changing times and we all have a duty to address our carbon footprint and look at recycling and re using. The irony with wine is that usually a heavier bottle indicates a higher quality wine....the glass is much more expensive and therefore more money spent on packaging usually means better quality. One of the leading UK based wine journalists, Jancis Robinson has highlighted the heavy bottle issue recently.
When I see people arrive at Cave CoOperatives in the south of France with their own bottles or plastic containers and fill up direct from the pump in the wall, I can see the efficiency of recycling packaging.
It would be great to introduce this concept in to a retail environment in the UK, USA or China. The customers could buy a branded or unique wine vessel and they could re fill from a central location/store.The only issue is that we all would need to adapt, change and re think our attitude towards wine and packaging. Change can be slow, it can be costly. But if the statistics for landfill are correct we will have nowhere to store all the planets waste within a few years. With the population hitting 7 billion last month, we all need to take more responsibility.
I want to work with more wine boxes, wine pouches, wine bags and I really like this idea of a paper wine bottle. A couple of years ago I promoted the idea to restaurants buying 5 litre or 10 litre wine boxes for their house wine. The ratio of quality to duty and quality to packaging can be very good. If there is an investment in a smart carafe or decanter on each table, then the decanter can be re filled direct from the 5 litre or 10 litre box. The customer gets good quality, the restaurant can still offer a very good wine and possibly even increase their margins, but most importantly less glass is used and it is more efficient.
Innovation might mean more education. It might take time. But we need to do something urgently.