As of the early 2000’s climate change has emerged as a global topic. The changing weather conditions are affecting the sparkling wine business in the long term, as the most crucial step in the production process of sparkling wine is the harvest of wine grapes. The timetable of harvesting is determined by the weather. Heat, rain and hail may for instance damage the grapes severely and spread vine diseases.
The famous Champagne area in France already experiences the consequences of global warming. The earlier budding of the plants due to climate change makes them more vulnerable to spring freezes, which results in extreme harvest losses for wine growers in May. In the well-known sparkling wine regions in France, Italy and Spain, the higher mean temperatures are pushing the limits of optimum climates in the crucial growing season between April and September. As a result the sweet spot for sparkling wine is moving towards more Northern regions with cooler climates, such as England.
Having a global metatrend that affects the entire (sparkling) wine industry in its core business, requires action. Therefore the Spanish Wine Federation founded the ‘Wineries for Climate Protection’ (WfCP) initiative, sponsored by the Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV). Its aim is to position ‘Wineries for Climate Protection’ as an international reference on the wine industry and the environment, searching for improvements for wine growers and wine houses. Members of the initiative, including the luxurious Cava brand Freixenet, are jointly taking the responsibility for sustainable viticulture. Practicing sustainable viticulture addresses the ten material issues defined as priorities by the WfCP:
The sparkling wine industry has not been idle, and came up with the practice of sustainable product innovation, that addresses various materialities at once. The novelty of the product is not the drink in itself, but can be found in the ecodesign of the bottle containing the delightful bubbles. In the past the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne dictated the Champagne industry with its standards of producing authentic bottles of 75 centiliters with a weight of 900 grams. However, in 2010 the committee agreed to new standards for Champagne bottles and announced the technical validation of a bottle of 835 grams. Although 65 grams less does not seem much, the truth is that this small change can result in an annual reduction of 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing 3,000 cars from the road.
Looking at efficient logistics, more bottles (up to 1,000) can be loaded in one truck with the 835 grams Champagne bottles having economic savings in transport costs as a result. In addition, the design and advantages that have been achieved in reducing the weight of the glass led to 11% waste reduction. The results of lighter Champagne bottles emphasize the great importance of sparkling wine packaging and its environmental impact.
Just like the Champagne industry, your company is affected by various material issues. Are you ready to address them in a way that creates value for the company and society through eco-efficiency, customer intimacy and innovation? Please contact Jan van der Kaaij at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 6 28 02 18 80 for more information. For now, we would like to propose a toast in honor of a happy, successful and most of all a sustainable 2015!