jamie goode's wine blog: carboNZero Riesling: what does it mean?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

carboNZero Riesling: what does it mean?

One of the bottles opened last night was a Grove Mill Riesling 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand. A very attractive, intense, piercing Riesling full of racy lime and grapefruit, with the high acid nicely countered by some residual sugar. A good buy at 8.99 from Threhser.

Prominently displayed on the label was the carboNZero logo, advertising that this wine was carbon neutral. But what exactly, in practical terms does this mean? And are we going to be seeing increasing numbers of wines sold on a green marketing ticket?

Grove Mill's website gives some more information. 'carboNZero' is managed by Landcare Research New Zealand. Grove Mill itself is a brand owned by the New Zealand Wine Company (NZWC), and they took three steps to achieve this certification. First they measured their carbon footprint. Then they tried to reduce it as much as possible. And the balance they offset. 'For NZWC we were able to purchase credits from a local carbon farmer, Ron Marriott, in the Marlborough Sounds', says the website. A 'carbon farmer'? I guess, if enough people are wanting to offset their emissions, then there's money to be made by planting trees on land you own.

When you see a wine company making a fuss on their label about their environmental credentials, it's easy to feel a bit cynical about their motivations. But the NZWC are doing this properly, and it's good to see that there's some substance behing the marketing talk.

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At 9:24 AM, Anonymous lagramiere said...

I suppose that means they also offset the fact that the wine is shipped half way around the world too?

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It actually causes more harm to the environment driving from France to the UK than shipping wine from NZ........

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Carsten said...

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At 11:15 PM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

The answer to your question lagramiere is "Yes".

But this does raise a very real point, which is of major concern to people here in NZ. We are on the other side of the world from most of you and our economy is based on industries that require energy inputs i.e. dairy, meat, forestry and tourism. In the past, our wine industry has been guilty of paying lip service to environmental issues ("the riches of a clean, green land", the industry tagline created BEFORE our sustainability programme was rolled out across the industry).

Now many producers here ARE committed to environmental protection - because we have to be to survive in the future. Not only that, more organic, intensive production techniques are better for our economy as well, as they result in less reliance on expensive, imported chemicals.

A good example of the custodian approach to winegrowing is Winegrowers of Ara, who Jamie has previously prpofiled here.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger HamishWM said...

This CarboNZero initiative is great and evidently authentic, but the cynical bit of me thinks that this could just be an extra marketing gimmick (and why not). Surely a bigger issue would be to promote using different packaging (rather than glass). Tetrapaks or Bag in Boxes leave less carbon footprints and are easy to use. But it might take a while to implement change on a large scale due to tradition.


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