Wine: Vintage '08? A mixed case of economy and ecology

Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:04am EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - In the world of wine, vintage 2008 was a blend of economy and ecology as financial woes put the brakes on a bull run in prices and more producers went green.

"The marketers got into the green word for wine," said Alice Feiring, author of "The Battle for Wine and Love or How I saved the World from Parkerization."

Boisset, the second-largest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau, bottled its entire 2008 harvest in plastic bottles.

The lightweight PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles drastically cut shipping costs without affecting the young Gamay wine inside and created packaging that was "absolutely recyclable," according to a company spokesman.

Of course, there are others that don't think the wine industry has really turned green yet, despite the rise in the number of biodynamic and organic wineries internationally.

"PET bottles are very leading edge," said's Michael Osborn, the largest U.S. online wine distributor.

"But if the wineries really got it, they would stop shipping their wines in wooden crates. The number of wooden crates that we open at our warehouses is incredible. Some of them weigh nine pounds (4.1 kgs). If they were serious, the wineries would forget the recycled wood and ship in recycled corrugated cardboard."

The year also saw the astronomical prices of first growth Bordeaux plunge, if not to earth then to a lower atmosphere.   Continued...