Saturday, June 02, 2007

Terroir in a Tank!

A lot of research went into this project and the results are in. Shipping wine in bulk is the answer! According to this report "Results of a Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report revealed bulk wine imports to the UK offer the greatest potential reduction of CO2 emissions." Imagine that!! Who would have thought. Bring a bunch of think tankers (WRAP) together and come up with this brilliant idea.
I am all for energy conservation but it appears to be creating a whole new industry. You have to wonder whether a "profit" motive is not involved. Shipping wine in bulk will lead to significant cost reductions . Will those savings be passed on to the consumer? I think not!
And how about those new "voluntary" labeling proposals? Voluntary is the key word here. It won't be long before some British parliamentarian will introduce legislation to make it mandatory. Another nightmare and great cost for vintners and in the end for consumers. Think and drink locally while the drinking is good. As Roger Dial proclaims "somewhereness" is good.
Bulk tanker wines with "anywhereness" wines not good.


Nick said...

Hi Wilf,

Great blog!

Have you spotted the article in the newspaper The Independent about bulk shipping wine to plants in the UK and getting rid of green glass wine bottles all together?

I am all for helping the environment but worry that the big boys such as Constellation can afford this whilst the small wine producers who bottle at the Chateau will struggle.



Wilf K. said...

Exactly so, Nick.Are the big boys really interested in the environment or is it just a convenient way of increasing their bottom line at the expense of the small producers? Will check out the Independent article.
Thanks for leaving a comment.

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Bulk shipping of wines is common in the UK and has been for years and I think your cynicism is justified that although costs are reduced, they don't get passed on to the consumer. Last year I was buying Ken Forresters's 'Hand Made' Chenin Blanc (a South Africa wine)and it was pretty darn good. This year the new vintage was the same price, but the wine had been bottled in Europe. i.e. a bulk wine.

There are a whole raft of issues. Personally I feel the bulk wines are duller, blander and have less life & freshness than a winery bottled wine and I avoid them where possible. A lot appear on restuarant wine lists because they can easily be labelled with on-trade only brand names.

I have read also that more SO2 need to be added to keep them during shipping.

There is a question of whether the wine in the bottle is the same wine that left the winery. Tankers go into some huge bottling plant in England or France or Germany and out come at millions of bottles.

When I started researching Pinotage I found some interesting figures alleging that Switzerland imported less Pinotage in bulk than it exported in bottles.

It must be remembered tho' that shipping in bottle is a fairly recent thing. In the UK before WWII European wine was imported in barrel and bottled by the shipper/wine merchant. It was the example of the Rothschilds with Chateau bottling in 1924 that led ultimately to the now standard chateau bottling, but it didn't happen overnight. I had an early 1950's vintage classed growth Bordeaux bottled by Averys of Bristol and with their own label.

In the EU the bottler must be identified. European bottlers are identified by a code number so if you see something like 'Bottled by F19231' it means it was bottle din France.

(nice blog, by the way)