Carbon zero? Well, looking more closely…

In a previous post, I’d spent a certain amount of time exploring the limits and vagaries of “green” wine. I’ve always been skeptical of full-frontal claims of virtue, which seem to be as much about marketing than about actual environmental concerns. I tend to feel more in tune with winemakers who go the green way more naturally, so to speak, and don’t talk so much about it. There are limits to the claims of greenness, and pitfalls to promising too much.

Case in point: Grove Mill winery, a great New Zealand outfit that has laid a claim to being the world’s first CarboNZero winery. They put a lot of effort into this, even factoring in the shipping to Britain in their calculations. But guess what. Standards are changing for the CarbonZero program, so Grove Mill will have to change its calculations to include the carbon footprint of bottles, something which wasn’t done so far. I don’t want to be disparaging to Grove Mill, whose efforts are genuine, and whose wines are very good (I bought a very fragrant, flavorful riesling from them last summer, at the LCBO, and found it very pleasant and fairly balanced). But clearly, CarboNZero™, a program with an evolving set of standards, is not the same as carbon neutral, which is a harder thing to figure out. A little less touting wouldn’t hurt the wine, and would avoid what seems like a bit of backtracking, to say the least. I’d rather drink a bottle of almost organic wine, rather than take out a calculator and work out specifications.

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