Reducing the weight of a standard 75cl glass champagne bottle from 900g to 835g, the Comité Champagne predicts the move will cut the region’s carbon dioxide output by 8,000 tonnes a year – equivalent, it says, to the emissions of 4,000 cars.
Speaking at the annual Champagne Bureau tasting in Whitehall, London, CIVC head of viticulture Laurent Panigai said that the advantages of the new bottle include: “No significant change in shape; proven pressure resistance; no change required for cellar equipment; quick to implement; and a 1% reduction in greenhouse gases.”
Producers already have the first new bottles of the 2009 production filled and lying in their cellars, and consumers will first see the finished article on the shelves in the latter part of 2012, following the standard period of bottle maturation for Brut non-vintage styles.
International sales director for Champagne Canard-Duchêne, Alexis Petit-Gats, said: “We will begin with our classic range including NV and Rosé, before introducing the new bottles for Vintages and other styles.” Grande Cuvée styles such as the producer’s Charles VII Brut would not be able to make use of the new bottles, he added, due to design and marketing issues.
Though not compulsory, champagne’s new lightweight bottle is the first tangible and widespread initiative to result from the region’s initial 2003 studies into reducing its environmental impact. The CIVC has set targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% for 2020, and by 75% for 2050.
From 16 research and development programmes instigated, 40 initiatives are already under way or in the pipeline, added Laurent Panigai. “Making the wine represents only one quarter of our total footprint,” he said.