November 5, 2010 / 6:11 AM / 9 years ago

In vino veritas: NZ wine proclaims its carbon toll

AUCKLAND (Reuters Life!) - For all the world’s environmentally conscious wine drinkers, help is at hand. A New Zealand winery now declares on its label the carbon footprint for each glass you imbibe.

The New Zealand Wine Company on Friday started sales of its Mobius Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which it says is the first wine in the world to let consumers know the amount of carbon emissions for every glass.

“There was consumer and customer demand, especially in the UK. Consumers are wanting more information so they can make a better choice,” said Helen Wilkes, the firm’s marketing manager.

“We believe that it’s our duty as responsible manufacturers to provide that information.”

The move, which took two years of planning and calculations by a sustainability consultant and were subsequently certified by Britain’s Carbon Trust, figures the carbon trail for each market separately and displays the number inside a tiny black footprint printed in the corner of the label.

“It’s basically covering the whole life cycle of the product, ... production, distribution, use and disposal of packaging,” she said.

The carbon footprint for a 125 ml glass of the wine in New Zealand is 140 grams. For the same glass in Australia, the footprint is 190 grams because of the extra transport to get it there.

Those are the only two markets for which the calculations have been made, although Wilkes said plans are to expand it to other markets and other products. Only about 20 percent of the company’s sales are domestic.

Though products showing the carbon impact remain limited — the wine is the first in New Zealand, though there are other such products in Europe — Wilkes said more were likely to follow.

“For years and years we’ve become educated to look for nutritional information on food, so a lot of consumers now compare nutritional analysis,” she said.

“In the future, I believe the carbon footprint will become another icon on a piece of packaging that people will be referring to to help them make their purchasing decisions.”

And the taste?

“It’s not probably what you would think would be a typical fresh-fresh green grassy sauvignon blanc, it’s rather elegant and a little more complex,” Wilkes said.

“People have different ideas about the size of a glass of wine, but we’re trying to be responsible. 125 ml is considered one glass of wine,” she added.

Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Robert Birsel

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