How to drink wine more sustainably

Drinking wine from a keg lessens your carbon footprint.
Drinking wine from a keg lessens your carbon footprint. Photo: iStock

In the current climate, environmental sustainability is (rightfully) a pressing topic. We are all trying to make the world a greener place, one step at a time. From toting reusable shopping bags and buying in bulk to eschewing plastic straws, there are little things we can do every day to lessen our impact.

But the larger conversation of how to drink wine sustainably has not yet taken off. We all know to recycle our glass bottles, but what else can be done to drink well and do good?

AT A BOTTLE SHOP

Look for wines that are made within a 100 kilometre radius of your location.
Look for wines that are made within a 100 kilometre radius of your location. Photo: Simon Letch

I'm looking for a casual Tuesday night bottle. What would you recommend?

Drinking local is one of the best things you can do for wine sustainability.

While there isn't a strict correlation between distance and emissions (sea freight from Europe can be more sustainable than trucking something from coast to coast in Australia), drinking wines from within your 100-kilometre radius is undoubtedly the most environmentally friendly option.

More restaurants and wineries are serving wine on tap.
More restaurants and wineries are serving wine on tap. Photo: Simon Letch

Think about this not only at home, but while travelling. On your next trip to New York, you can not only learn about Long Island wine, but you'll be doing right by the environment when you drink it.

AT A RESTAURANT

You serve wine on tap? Is that any good!?

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What's better than local? Local and large format. Most studies cite that the glass bottle accounts for nearly 40 per cent of wine's carbon emissions.

There are many restaurants, bars and bottle shops getting on board with having their glass pours on tap, including Chin Chin and Lygon Street's ReWine. Each keg saves dozens of glass bottles from being transported and recycled, and it preserves the wine for ultimate freshness (and reduced wastage).

More and more high-quality wineries are making their wines available on tap if asked (Arfion, Ruggabellus and Vasse Felix, for example), so you can drink quite well while you're doing good for the world.

Support wineries that have significant sustainability initiatives.
Support wineries that have significant sustainability initiatives. Photo: Simon Letch

AT A WINERY

What sort of sustainability measures do you have in place?

Even when drinking locally and in large format, it's good to support wineries that have significant sustainability initiatives.

These can include everything from using the lightest glass bottles possible (the lessened carbon footprint makes a huge difference) and planting drought-resistant grape varieties that require less water to reducing chemical additions to the soil.

There are even wineries that aim to be carbon-neutral: building with recycled materials, using solar and wind power, and relying strictly on collected rain water. It's good to ask this question, too – the more people that show wineries sustainability is a significant issue for them, the more changes will be made.