Wine enthusiasts may scoff at wine out of a box, but this particular variety of wine snobbery may soon disappear. A Franklin Associates life-cycle inventory of wine containers found that Tetra Pak boxes (cardboard boxes lined with aluminum and polyethylene) have the lowest energy requirements and produce the lowest greenhouse gas emissions and solid wastes. Glass weighs the most, consumes the most energy and generates the most emissions and solid wastes.
“When shipping more than 300 miles, weight matters—less weight means less fossil fuel to transport and less CO2 emissions,” says Lyle Clarke, environmental manager for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Recyclable Tetra Pak boxes are manufactured using mostly paper fiber from responsibly managed forests, and the company is developing easier recycling technologies for the aluminum and polyethylene liners.
“Most boxes feature one-way valves that dispense their contents without allowing the remaining liquid to come in contact with air, preserving the wine’s integrity for up to a month,” explains Josh Wesson, founder and senior director of the innovative wine retailer Best Cellars.
In addition, the lower cost of packaging and transporting boxed wine lets producers offer higher-quality wines at lower prices. To find out more, visit www.tetrapak.com/environment.
To be sure the wine glasses you drink from are also light on the environment, check out these options.
Terra Keramik’s handmade Glasi wine glasses contain no lead and are designed to enhance the taste of certain varietals. Terra Keramik uses responsible manufacturing practices including renewable energy, heat-recovery systems, dust capture and recycling. Wine decanter (2-liter capacity): $145. Bourdeaux wine glass: $58. Chardonnay and Burgundy wine glasses: $50.
(203) 644-0427. www.terrakeramik.com
The Green Glass Company’s engraved vintage colored glasses are fashioned out of recycled Napa Valley wine bottles. Willow Collection (pictured): $60 for four. (715) 355-1897.
Uncommon Goods’ sturdy, stemless Glass From the Past wine glasses are handmade in Colombia from recycled car windshields and windows. $22 for two. (888) 365-0056.
Black Box Wines
The Mendocino Wine Company
Badger Mountain Vineyard