Your next bottle of bubbly may be a few ounces lighter. The Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) announced March 16 the launch of a new bottle to reduce the region's carbon emissions.
The new design, which consists of changes primarily to the neck of the bottle, will be more than 2 ounces lighter, yet can still withstand the 6 atmospheres of pressure within the bottle, shipping and handling, according to Sam Heitner, spokesperson for the Champagne Bureau, the representative of the CIVC in the United States. The bottles have been tested now for several years, to ensure both quality and safety standards, allowing the CIVC to approve their use.
The expected annual reduction in CO2 output is 8,000 metric tons, equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions of 4,000 cars. As part of a larger initiative, the CIVC hopes to reduce carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050.
"Champagne is trying to be a leader in putting its arms around this issue," said Heitner. Beginning in 2002, the region conducted the first and one of the most advanced audits of a wine area's carbon footprint output.
The CIVC determined that the production of bottles, packing and shipping them accounted for 33 percent of the region's carbon emissions, while transportation added an additional 14 percent.
Champagne will be bottled in the new design this year (from the 2009 harvest) and consumers will begin to see them in the U.S. by 2012. Producers will use the new bottle for their non-vintage cuvées, roughly 85 percent of the Champagne region's output. Because growers and houses still prefer different bottle shapes to distinguish their vintage and prestige cuvées, those bottles will remain the same for now.
Trudy Meyer — Greenwich, CT — March 23, 2010 8:13am ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — March 23, 2010 11:33am ET
Evagelos Malerdos — Piraeus - Greece — March 24, 2010 7:57am ET
Bernard Kruithof — San Antonio, Texas — March 25, 2010 7:38pm ET
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