Home Wine Industry Spotlights 3 Ways You Can Reduce Your Winery’s Carbon Footprint

3 Ways You Can Reduce Your Winery’s Carbon Footprint

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A brand’s journey to sustainability is never complete as it works to stand out and challenge expectations of the norm. As the years progress, companies of all sizes are aiming to do just that, with a focus on sustainability for better health, improved community, and a brighter future.

“Pro-environmental actions, such as recycling, have great potential for the industry as a whole to be more sustainable,” notes Jon French, O-I’s Wine Category Sales & Marketing Director.

The wine industry has made progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but pressures continue to rise for businesses to take more action founded in sustainable behavior. Wineries of all sizes continue to view every decision with a sustainable lens. Let’s take a closer look at the ways your winery can reduce its carbon footprint.

Choose Local

Of all steps in the supply chain, transportation accounts for 90% of greenhouse gas emissions.[1] O-I, based in Ohio, has 17 manufacturing facilities. Four of these locations – Portland, OR, Kalama, WA, Tracy, CA and Los Angeles, CA – are strategically placed to support West Coast wineries with local glass packaging. About 75% of the bottles produced in the Tracy, CA plant are used locally in Napa and Sonoma counties.

By reducing packaging transportation and purchasing locally, wineries are not only minimizing the distance bottles travel from their origin, but they’re also decreasing their carbon footprint.

Glass shipped in from other countries, though they are excellent trading partners, creates a detriment to the sustainable efforts of West Coast wineries. “The carbon footprint of bringing Chinese glass into the country to bottle our wines in and ship them all over the world is pretty significant,” says Jesse Lange, Winemaker and Winegrower at Lange Estate Winery & Vineyard in Dundee, Oregon. “If we’re able to sustain, support and even grow domestic glass manufacturing here in the United States, I think that’s a major plus for all beverages that are bottled in glass – wine included.”

Choose to Recycle Your Packaging 

An important ingredient to the manufacturing of glass is recycled glass, also known as cullet. O-I recognizes the potential of recycled glass. Globally, our glass products contained an average of 38% cullet by tons packed in 2022, and our goal is to reach 50% by 2030. With only a 10% increase in cullet use, the energy used by a plant decreases 2-3%.[2] When wineries practice recycling efforts and communicate the benefits to their customers and community, the carbon footprint continues to reduce in size. 

“Our goal for our West Coast plants,” says French, “is to provide the wine country with highly recycled glass as we continue to innovate for greater efficiency.”

O-I’s Glass-to-Glass recycling facility in Washington makes it easier to return empty glass containers back to O-I. Recycling efforts in the Pacific Northwest will continue to expand in regions, like California, where there is more focus on recycling.  

Recycling just a ton of glass conserves hundreds of pounds of sand, soda ash and limestone and eliminates 333 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2)[3]. The infinite recyclability of glass creates a closed-loop system that generates no additional waste, once again, reducing the carbon footprint. 

Choose the Right Weight  

The wonderful part about glass packaging is that it can come in many shapes and sizes, but also weights. O-I’s complete product portfolio offers a robust selection, from more smaller sizes, such as 375ml, to lighter weight options in 750ml and 1.5L sizes. 

The weight of glass packaging has begun to attract the attention of retailers around the globe. These businesses are prioritizing more sustainable packaging, with weight being a primary factor of consideration. Currently, a small percentage of retailers are using weight as part of their standard requirements for brands they choose to partner with. This trend toward lightweighting brand packaging is expected to continue moving forward.

“O-I continues to innovate and provide high-quality, premium-looking products – offering versions in standard and lighter weights,” says French. “Currently, we have eight lightweight offerings, and we plan to expand that to twelve by early 2025.”  

Lighter weight packaging affects truck load transportation and the manufacturing process, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing the right weight of packaging for your product is just another way to reduce your carbon footprint.  

What’s Your Next Step? 

Interested in learning how to further your sustainability goals? Visit o-i.com to view our sustainability report, see examples of sustainability in action or connect. Look for the O-I booth 214 at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento January 24-25.

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[1]World Resources Institute standards, and O-I internal calculations. Local = From Kalama / Tracy. Calculations are based on a standard 750ml bottle weighing 500g. Production numbers for China are standardized based on an example Chinese plant running on natural gas in 2020. Transportation numbers for ocean transport are based on nautical miles per 100,000 tonne ship, averaging around 19,900nm. Transportation on land assumes a standard 17 tonne truck traveling from point of production or port to Napa Valley.

[2]Glass Packaging Institute

[3]EPA

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