May was a busy month for me because I was taking an Intensive Sommelier course. We learned the basics of viticulture and enology while tasting more wine that I could ever image.
Follow me on Vivino to see my wine recommendations.
Wine is something that I am extremely passionate about and going to incorporate into my future career. So I’d like to share with you a bit about how to fit wine into your zero waste lifestyle.
What do you get when you buy bulk wine?
Bulk wine is less expensive for a reason. This is because you are buying the wine produced wine by the secondary progress of pressing using machinery.
To simplify a bit, in the red wine making process the grapes are crushed to extract the liquid from the grape during fermentation. This called the “free-run”. Nearing the end of the process the grapes are additionally pressed to remove any additional juices. In the white wine process this happens just after crushing, or maceration.
Sometimes this pressed liquid is added back to the free-run, sometimes it is not and instead treated aline. This is when we get pressed wine.
This is very similar to the process of olive oil production where the highest quality olive oils are produced from the first press and less quality from the second and third.
The pressed wine with often be less acidic with more tannins. This can affect the taste and make it more bitter and astringent.
BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle
If you’re lucky you might live near a store that sell wine bulk wines and the bottles to fill them in. I have a collection of snap stop bottles that I have from old vermut, beer, and sparkling water. We refill them in our house with water.
If you can’t recycle a bottle there are many options to purchase your own and keep reusing it for year to come. Here are some great options from
Reduced consumption for a better planet
One thing that I didn’t want to give up is getting quality wine even if I am living a zero waste lifestyle. Reducing amount of bottles I purchase and not living with excess is key, as well as knowing how to get the best deal for a high quality product.
This helps make it more feasible to buy a quality product when all of your other expenses might be increasing as you purchase package free products.
Overcoming some misperceptions was crucial for cutting down.
- 1st – Bulk wine is not lesser quality. It’s different wine.
- 2nd – The most expensive wines are not necessarily the best for all tastes.
- 3rd – The cork is overrated. Many a great wine are now being made with screw tops, keeping them fresher longer and reducing waste from the metal film that covers the cork.
Higher price ≠ Higher quality
When you know your wine better you’ll understand that the price tag doesn’t always make the wine. Let me give you a nice example:
You’ll be surprise to find that even in supermarkets you can find some wine from the oldest quality vineyards.
Let’s take a look at the wine selection from Lidl. Do you notice something on this first line on wine? That’s right, they are selling a Grand Cru from Saint Emilion for just under £11. Grand Cru is a mark of excellent based on the location of the vineyard where this wine was produced. And what’s even more excellent is this price. I remember going to the vineyard in Bordeaux and paying 40€ a few years ago for a similar Gran Cru!
And have a look at this second selection. We have a Gavo DOCG. What does DOCG?
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. This is the highest qualification that you can get for wines from Italy. And this one is selling for just £ 5.49.
So now you know to do some investigating the next time you make it into a Lidl. And don’t assume that supermarket wines are something to sneeze at.
Biodynamic & Organic Wines
Another way to be more conscious in your wine purchases is really looking into the entire process of growth and harvest of the grapes and production of the wine.
Nowadays you will find vineyards doing very interesting things to reduce waste and like this producer who uses food scraps in composting her vineyard.
Going sulfate free
With more people concerned with what goes into the products we put into our bodies Biodynamic and Organic wines are becoming more and more popular.
They contain less sulfites, a chemical compound used for preservation of the wine, with many believe are an unnecessary unnatural additive. There is of course almost always naturally produced sulfites in all wines.
Biodynamic wines are produced with no added sulfites.
Organic wines have less sulfites.
As the battle rages on about what is the best for you, do your research and decide if you’ll go biodynamic or stick with regular wine.
Making your own wine
If you’re a really wine aficionado and you want to try your hand at winemaking don’t run to the super marketing and pick up a bunch of grapes.
Uncommon Goods has produced four amazing wine making kits to help you in your pursuits. The kits however are not zero waste as they include some plastic packing and a lovely box. (Left to right: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay)
I think the box itself make a nice decoration and can be reused in your home. Check out the four version that they have to make your own reds and whites.
Your Zero Waste wine kit
There are many ways to keep your wines fresh and reduce waste. So if you love wine here are some suggestions for equipping your home with a zero waste wine kit.
- Wine stoppers: Besure to replace plastic wine stopped with elegant metal alternatives likes these. (From left to right: Bertie Bottle Stopper, Gemstone Bottle Topper , Heart Bottle Stopper, and Birth Stone Bottle Stoppers)
- Refillable bottles: Shop as bulk shops as often as your can and always bring your own refillable glass bottles. I like to have two on hand so that I can get extra wine for entertaining. (From left to right: Airtight Glass Bottle and Glass Swing-top Bottle)
- Wine chillers and buckets: Serve your wine at the right temperature, but skip the plastic buckets. These are beautiful, durable, and most importantly plastic free. (From left to right clockwise: Fenton Wine Cooler, Brooks Grey Wood Wine Cooler, and Hammered Copper Wine Chiller)
- On-the-go cups: Thinking of picnicing? Don’t pull out the plastic cups. Leave the glass at home. These silicon mugs are amazing. And this metal to-go wine cup is dreamy. (From left to right: Coral Swig Wine Tumbler, Silicone Wine Glasses, and Corkcicle Steamless Glass)
- Wine opener: Invest in a sturdy metal and wooden wine opener and skip plastic alternatives that can break and produce waste.
- Aerator: Letting your wine breathe is important in many cases as the scents and flavors evolve when the bottle is opened. Use a metal or glass aerator for best results.
- Decanter: You definitely won’t have trouble finding a beautiful glass decanter for your wine. Invest in a nice vessel and you truly appreciate the nice bottle you just brought home.
- Recycled glasses: Look for recycles wine glasses. It’s a great green way to make the wine bottle have a second life or drink from a new material. And they’re fun! (From left to right: Upcycled Banned Cup Set and Wooden Wine Glasses)
Do you enjoy wine as much as I do? What are some tips that you use to keep your wine drinking more green? Let me know in the comments!
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