Popping the cork spills carbons too

Champagne makers toast to reducing their carbon footprint.

Making champagne is by no means carbon neutral, as tree-hugging teetotalers might like to note. Carbon dioxide causes the bubbles, after all.

To be exact, champagne makers have determined that making each bottle of bubbly causes the release of 200 grams of carbon dioxide.

Cheers to carbon dioxide. More is involved in every bottle of bubbly than in other wines.
Cheers to carbon dioxide. More is involved in every bottle of bubbly than in other wines. Elsa Wenzel/CNET

Some champagne makers want to shrink emissions by 25 percent within 12 years and up to 75 percent by 2050. They announced the goals Tuesday at the Bordeaux Carbon Initiative, one of many recent events by vintners seeking to green their craft.

The figures do not include all sparkling wine, such as Spanish cava, made outside the Champagne region of France. The methode champenoise was born in Champagne, and only its sparkling wine can claim on the label to be true champagne.

The largest portion of that local industry's carbon emissions--39 percent--comes from bottling and packaging, with another 24 percent released in the process of making the wine, according to the champagne industry. And transportation of wine and workers makes up 13 percent, use of equipment comprise 11 percent, and products used in cellars and vines contribute another 8 percent of emissions.

The Champagne region of France releases 197,000 tons of CO2 each year--about the same as an average British city, according to Decanter Magazine.

Winemakers in Bordeaux, France, meanwhile are trying to tally the greenhouse gas emissions of grape growing, cultivating, packing, and shipping every type of wine. One Bordeaux winemaking family is harvesting sunflowers to make biofuel to power its tractors, according to the AFP.

In sunny California, winemakers are also pushing to reduce their carbon emissions. Last year Shafer Vineyards became the first to switch fully to solar power in Napa and Sonoma counties, where organic and biodynamic wine cultivation have been popular for decades. However, many oenephiles might point out that viticulture and viniculture around the world have been clean, green, and organic for centuries, if not millennia.

Sadly, my colleagues in Barcelona for the GSMA Mobile World Congress last week didn't learn more on the subject by catching the International Climate Change and Wine conference, where Al Gore keynoted.

Winemakers received access to their first tailor-made carbon footprint calculator in December.

Next-generation Web technologies are also enabling wine lovers to assemble virtual cellars and establish new communities. Web 2.0 tools for wine consumers include Snooth , Vinfolio , Bottletalk and Cork'd .

 

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