As Kermit the Frog says, it’s not easy being green, and especially so at Christmas when the focus has for so long been on consumption and indulgence. For those of you who are dreaming of a green Christmas, here are some ideas.
Use alternative packaging, like box-in-bag or canned wine
Glass is still the container of choice of the wine industry (and the only vessel currently suitable for ageing wines). It represents a significant part of a wine’s overall CO2 emissions, largely because of the energy required in its production.
A solution? Bag-in-box and canned wines significantly reduce the greenhouse gas impact of a wine. Plus, bag-in-box wines will stay fresh for six weeks after being opened. For wines destined to be drunk in the next few months, they’ll taste just as good as wine from the bottle. Plus, they’re wine-critic-approved, with The Times’ wine critic Jane MacQuitty saying of our Côtes-du-Rhône: ‘Still my favourite bag-in-box red, in a handy size for the festive season…bursts with rich, leafy violet and red plum fruit.’
We currently offer several bag-in-box wines from Austrian grüner veltliner to Californian pinot noir – click here to explore the range.
We also have a couple of wines in cans from the enterprising and unique South African wine company Lubanzi. The lightly sparkling rosé has been particularly well received by members and Lubanzi’s bright, stone-fruited chenin is joyfully refreshing. With the company’s credentials being as sound as their wines, you can also take heart in enjoying wines that give something back to the communities that made them.
Opt for lighter bottles
Bringing down the weight of bottles can make a huge difference to the wine industry’s carbon footprint. We’ve made good progress here: 38 of our own-label Society wines are already below 420g (compared with an industry average of 550g), which we calculate will save around 100g of CO2 per bottle. The wines we put under our Society label are those we are most proud of; they offer great value for money and are all effortlessly drinkable. There’ll be even more coming in the New Year.
Why not give an experience as a gift?
Giving the gift of an experience is now becoming increasingly popular, particularly for those that don’t want more ‘stuff’ cluttering up their homes, eventually ending up in the dump. Membership of The Wine Society is the ultimate wine experience, as the lucky recipient has access to great wine, not just for Christmas, but for life.
You can also gift tickets to our tastings to non-members, but if they’re not able to travel to one of our in-person events, they can join one of our online events. There are some particularly tempting stay-at-home events lined up. The tasting packs are considerably lighter than traditional glass bottles and there’s no travelling involved for either the winemaker or for those tuning in.
Wrap more efficiently
Bottles of wine are notoriously difficult to wrap, but if you are going to attempt it, we’ve put together a quick guide with some brilliant ways to show off your bottles.
It goes without saying that you should try to reused or recyclable paper; you can even get recycled and compostable tape now, too. Avoid glitter and foil papers or maybe use reusable gift bags or cloth instead. Read up on furoshiki – a traditional Japanese cloth gift-wrapping technique. Alternatively, one of our colleagues suggested using tinfoil – you’ll certainly have something to wrap up the turkey sandwiches with afterwards.
Buy from sustainability-minded growers
Many of the wine producers we work with go to enormous lengths to look after the land they farm, often considering themselves the mere custodians of their beautiful properties. Whether it’s the farming practices employed, the careful use of resources, the acts of social responsibility or the way the wines are shipped to the UK, the following producers stand out from the crowd.
Love your leftovers
If you are left with some wine in your bottles, don’t just pour it away. Keep bubbles fresh in your sparkling wines with our Champagne stopper or use a Vacu Vin to preserve the remnants for another day. All these wine accessories make for great stocking fillers, too.
You can also freeze leftover wine in ice-cube trays for adding to stocks and sauces. This won’t work for sparkling wine, but reds, whites and rosés can all be stored this way. It’s a good idea to decant the frozen cubes into bags so that they don’t pick up any taints or odours from other items in the freezer.
If you want another way to use up leftover fizz, Emma Briffett from our Tastings team has some sweet suggestions:
Leftover food is something you can always get creative with and it can be fun. Over the years we’ve built up a selection of recipes for making the most of the ‘remains of the day’.
If you have any clever ideas, we’d love to hear them!