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Boxed Wine: Not Just for the Cheap Anymore

I am an avid red wine drinker.  Lately I've been thinking about taking my wine drinking to a greener level, but it's a bit overwhelming as there are a lot of factors to consider.

To start with, what's the difference between USDA certified organic and plain old organic on the labels?  To be USDA certified organic, a vineyard must grow its grapes without using any chemicals or artificial fertilizers.  Also USDA certified organic wine cannot have any sulfites added.  (Don't misinterpret this, though.  These wines will still contain some sulfites, as they naturally occur in wine.)  A wine labelled simply organic means that at least 70% of its contents are organic.

However, being a greener wine consumer is not necessarily synonomous with being an organic wine drinker.  Sustainability is another factor to consider.  What is the vineyard doing to make a less significant impact on the earth?  Are they taking measures to reduce erosion?  How about water consumption?  Do they only run sprinklers when absolutely necessary or is their system automatic?  What methods do they use of reducing pests?

Another way to green your wine consumption is to take a look at where your wine originates. identifies and explains a "green line" that runs down the center of Ohio.  The Green Line


According to research, anyone who lives west of the green line can reduce the carbon footprint of their wine consumption by purchasing products shipped from California.  If you live east of the green line, you're better off purchasing products imported from across the Atlantic.  Of course, you can also take the more local approach and purchase wine directly from a winemaker a short drive from your home.

After considering all these factors, a green wine consumer needs to think about the product's packaging.  Traditionally "good" wines came in bottles and "cheap" wines came in boxes.  This simply isn't the case anymore.  Wine bottles take a lot of energy to produce and even more to recycle--if a community even chooses to recycle glass wine bottles.  Plenty of environmentally conscious wine makers have started packaging their products in boxes, either using the bag-within-a-box model or the elementary-school-juice-box model.

Now, I don't know about you, but all this talk about wine has me in the mood to open my box-o-wine and enjoy.



That's really interesting about buying wine overseas vs. across the country for people living east of the line.  I guess next time I'm wine shopping I'll opt for something from Europe vs. Napa!

It's great that you are

It's great that you are pointing out the complexities in really determining what is truly green and not.  With so many companies, products and politicians painting everything with a broad green brush for personal, business or politcal gain, its hard to tell reality from a green illusion.

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