Time to rethink how you order your drinks

By Laurence Hamdan, SRA Sustainability Consultant

The environmental impact of wine is huge. From the land use and CO2 released during fermentation to the transportation and storage, there is a cost. And on such a vast scale – approx. 7.3 million hectares globally (OIC, 2020) – the impact adds up.

Wine has been around for some 8000 years, originating in Georgia, so the culture of drinking wine isn’t going anywhere (nor should it!). All wine was originally ‘natural’, with wild yeasts and without additives. Vines are known to be temperamental creatures, sensitive to temperature and rain conditions. So with the world’s climate in mind, the climate that allows us to grow grapes at all, it’s important to champion progress where we see it.

Sustainable Wine Solutions are a B2B purveyor of wines – mainly French, mainly organic/low-intervention and mainly in bulk. The idea is that wine arrives from the producer in reusable kegs, which can be decanted into recycled, reusable bottles that are distributed and collected again in sturdy, plastic crates. Each bottles is washed, refilled and goes on to live up to 30 more lives. The bottles have a signature chalk brushstroke behind the label, which is attached with water-soluble glue, so the whole system is designed with circularity in mind.  Even the bottled wines they import go back into the same system. Knowing that bottle waste accounts for a large gravimetric portion of hospitality waste, this is already a big step.

Spotted at the event was another company making progress in the spirit world: The Sustainable Spirit Co., with their range of eco-spirits. Their range of vodka, gin, white and dark rum, and natural prosecco are provided in reusable Eco-Pouches, an invention of the company’s own design. The poly-laminate pouches can be refilled and used to refill your own “bottle for life”. With this system, they claim to have saved over 300,000 bottles from being thrown away since 2019.

With all this advancement being made in the world of drinks, the message in the bottle to take away is that we must be adaptable to change, and that change may come in the shape of Eco-Pouches or kegged wine. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

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