Reducing Consumption One Bottle at a Time

Posted by The Wine Whore |

You may spend a lot of time tasting, discussing, and learning about wine, but how much time do you spend thinking about its container? With the idea of going green and reduced consumption gaining so much attention lately, it's not surprising to see these buzzwords budding around the vineyards as well.

According to this article, a company named Kingsland Wines and Spirits is taking some pretty significant steps towards reducing glass usage through a new and improved bottle. While you can expect a "standard" wine bottle to clock in at around 420g, Kingsland's new glass bottle only weighs 300g. With the help of a little math mojo, they figure that this reduced weight could actually cut CO2 emissions by over 2,500 tons a year.

If you're like me, the first question that comes to your mind is "How will this change the way I collect, drink, and enjoy wine?" The good news is that aside from the reduction in weight, nothing else perceivable to the wine drinker will change. Awesome! I normally wouldn't buy into these sorts of things, but this seems like a product that may actually provide a real benefit.

Oh wait, I just realized something... the article fails to mention what these new bottles cost? Is this form of going green going to wind up costing the consumer more green in the end?

What do you think? Does it matter either way? Would you be willing to pay more for these new bottles?

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Joshua S. Sweeney said...

I remember reading an article not too long ago about recycling wine bottles, and how Europe is now light-years ahead of the US on this front; I would much rather pay a deposit on returnable wine bottles regardless, but if they can create these lighter bottles without too much drop-off in quality, I would gladly support paying a little extra for them. Green is good, no?

The Wine Whore said...

My first thought is to totally agree... I am all for doing what's best for the environment but I have to admit that there would be a breaking point. I don't see myself spending a significant amount more for these bottles and I doubt a lot of other people would too.

So does that mean that this new bottle would cause less people to buy wine or would they just end up choosing less expensive labels to offset the cost?

I also wonder whether or not the more expensive labels will start using these new bottles in the future...

Ben Simons said...

I agree with Joshua's comment. I read that same article, and thought that the idea of actually reusing the bottles was a great way to go. The amount of energy expended in producing a bottle is huge, and the same applies to recycling them. Reuse would be the most energy efficient option.

That being said, I do say that something is better than nothing, so I would definitely support something like this as a first step. I would pay a little more for something like this, but wineries will obviously have a tough job informing the public about what they are doing.

Joshua S. Sweeney said...

Right, a little extra, no more than maybe 50 cents or so. Too much of an increase and smaller vineyards will get killed by the drop-off in sales.

It's still more feasible than the deposit idea; can you imagine a wine shop trying to collect deposits on 500 different vintages? Nightmarish doesn't even begin to describe it. We'd have to create a whole new industry around it, which would drive up costs...

INW Wine Century Club said...

I think this is a nice "small" step towards reducing CO2 emissions (which will have almost zero impact on worldwide emissions), but don't loose sight that the real reason for the new bottles was a reduction in both raw materials and weight of the final product.

Kingsland Wines & Spirits, like all smart companies, looks for methods to reduce their operating costs in order to maximize profits. The new bottles use 30% less glass which "should" result in a lower bottle cost. More importantly however, the weight of each bottle is less. Consider what the cost savings are in shipping a product which is now 30% lighter. The reduction in CO2 emissions is an added bonus, but by no means their real driver.

The Wine Whore said...

I agree with you both Ben and Joshua! Less than a dollar seems fair and I don't think a deposit system would work here at all.

Wine Century Club brings up a good point... this should actually bring a lower cost product. Do you think they are trying to distract us by talking up the CO2 emissions benefit so we don't expect a DECREASE in price?

INW Wine Century Club said...

Each business person and company behaves differently when there are reductions in the costs of production or materials. The likelihood of a price break to the consumers is low unless the cost reduction is significant and there is "enough to go around."

I doubt there is a concerted effort to hide anything. Its more likely that the mention of lowering CO2 emissions brings some extra, positive PR to the announcement. It also doesn't hurt that the odds of the article being picked up by other news feeds, readers, etc. increases when CO2 is included within the article's text.

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