In LCAs of wine, the analysis extends from growing grapes through to winemaking, and on to distribution, consumption and end-of-life management of the empty wine bottle. The production and transport of the wine bottle itself is an environmental hotspot in the life cycle of wine both internationally[1] and in Aotearoa New Zealand.[2]. In order to reduce these environmental impacts associated with the wine bottle, researchers have investigated the use of alternative packaging, including plastic bottles and aseptic cartons. Other initiatives include light-weighting glass bottles (i.e. manufacturing them with less glass), and transportation of wine in bulk and then packaging it into bottles closer to market. LCA studies have shown that plastic bottles and aseptic cartons reduce the climate change impacts of wine bottles, as does light-weighting glass bottles and bulk transportation.[3] However, care must be taken with these alternatives to ensure the quality and value of the wine is maintained. Local recycling options should also be considered.

Full Circle PET wine bottles. Credit: Yeatlands.

[1] Ferrara et al., “Life Cycle Assessment Application to the Wine Sector: A Critical Review,” Sustainability 10, no. 2 (2018)

[2] Barry et al., “Life Cycle Assessment and the New Zealand Wine Industry : A Tool to Support Continuous Environmental Improvement : A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Environmental Management in Life Cycle Management at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand” (Masters, Massey University, 2011)

[3] Ferrara et al., “Life Cycle Assessment Application to the Wine Sector: A Critical Review”

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