The New York Times has recently had an interesting article on carbon footprint of bottles of wine.
They compared the total carbon dioxide emissions of a bottle of wine shipped to New York from the Loire Valley in France and a bottle shipped to New York from the Napa Valley in California.
The result? The bottle of wine sent from California produces much more carbon dioxide.
Here’s how they worked it out.
At the cultivation level, there’s very little difference, 210 grams of carbon dioxide per bottle in the Loire Valley, and 214g in the Napa Valley. This is the energy used in managing the vineyard and growing the grapes.
The fermentation process, which naturally produces carbon dioxide, is the same for both regions: 109g of carbon dioxide per bottle. (No, stopping wine making will not save the planet!)
The production process in the winery was also the same in carbon terms at 132g.
In the “Containers” category, however, the Napa Valley loses out, mainly because the quality wooden barrels that most wineries use to age their wines are transported from France; the comparison is Loire Valley 473g and Napa Valley 633g.
Really big difference is in the shipping.
Sending a bottle of wine from California to New York produces 1,426g of carbon dioxide, because the wine is transported overland by lorry. The Loire Valley bottle obviously travels mainly en masse by sea, so produces only 447g of carbon dioxide.
The total is 1,371g of carbon dioxide to ship a bottle of wine from the Loire Valley to New York, 2,514g to send a bottle of wine from California to New York, nearly double.
Obviously anyone in NYC who is thinking green should drink French wine, or at least European wine. Expect an ad campaign from the French any time now. Californians should stick with the local offerings.
Anyone know the maths for wines coming to the UK market? Its probably a bit trickier. For instance our personalised champagne travels by lorry via the channel ports, so more road than sea. Our Bordeaux also travels by road and sea, but this time the ferry is Bordeaux to Portsmouth, so more sea than road.