Being green is an old story – 20 years ago in Australia there was one of the truly greatest headlines – “Kiwi farters ruin ozone layer!” The Oz generated story was about the quantity of cattle in NZ therefore creating methane gas and ruining the thin antipodean Ozone layer!
It must be tough on the other side of the world - small, far away, beautiful country, but limited human and physical resources to compete with much more central and bigger players. So why would you want to make a virtue out of a fact that is clearly detrimental to you.
A NZ winery is about to launch labelling with the carbon emissions on the label - 190 grams for a 125ml glass drunk in Australia, 140 grams in NZ and a higher one, as yet unstated, for the UK.
For me this brought that increasing surge of annoyance to the surface of exactly how much do producers, product developers, marketeers actually think about their carbon emissions.
Take electric cars - sure they push out less emissions from the exhaust, but what of the great big power station 100 miles away burning fossil fuels or the cost of getting rid of the batteries - reportedly more than making them in the first place. One guy I heard of recently was asked what he was going to do if he owned a flat and there was no plug in point for he new shiny electric car - move house was his answer. I don’t hear of anyone talking about the downstream effects or think through the full consequences and price of their actions.
Similarly in the wine industry. If we quickly dismantle the process by which a bottle of wine arrives in this country - a vineyard is planted, tendered and produces grapes (usually after 2nd or 3rd year harvest) - tractors, post drivers, materials, pickers to name but a few of the items involved. Grapes move to the winery then crushed, kept under blankets of CO2 (for freshness - err aren’t we trying to reduce this?), racked or fined a few times and for white wines sent to bottling - all requiring power - where-ever it is conducted in the world, but here is the rub. As a NZ winery you put it into glass bottles, which you put into cardboard containers, then a large shipping one, shipped to the port and then 12,000 miles across the world.
But isn’t it the first law of logistics that you ship the goods to the closest place in the market to package, thereby saving large transportation costs?
Many a senior NZ wine figure has been quoted saying how bottling in NZ is the real goal of the industry - for ‘preservation of quality’.
Despite large claims about clean, green, sustainable product throughout the industry, they would rather bottle in NZ out of some vague idea that quality is some sort of pinnacled pyramid to be scaled by the poor unfortunate consumer.
Bizarre if you ask me - how can it make financial sense to ship tons of glass around the world. Why not ship it in bulk and bottle over here is a much more environmentally friendly lower CO2 emissions way of bottling wine. And with technology the way it is, there is no issue with quality - we know we bottle Italian wines in France!
So back to the guys putting CO2 per glass on the bottle - great but surely they are just defeating their own goals to sell wine - how is their product ever going to compare to a product shipped in bulk from NZ and bottled in the UK? It never is. If we are going green let’s go green and really think about it - reality is that we are a consumer society are we really going to accept that or not!
Kiwi winos ruin ozone layer!