The need for companies to adopt greener practices applies to industries of all kinds - including the winemaking industry. With Earth Day right around the corner, our partners at Darling Magazine asked Winc's Wine Director, Brooke Matthias, to speak to our sustainability efforts as a company.
A part of what makes wine so exciting is that it is an opportunity for people to discover and explore diverse parts of the world through taste. ‘Terroir’ is a term used to describe how a particular region’s climate, terrain and soil affects the wine that is in your glass. All great wine is the result of land, or its unique terroir. Therefore, it’s important to pay tribute to the planet that makes wine possible.
At Winc, we are focused on ensuring that every bottle of wine is thoughtfully made and of the highest quality. We accomplish this by using only the most premium raw materials and building relationships with renowned vineyards and respected viticulturists. However, an equally important part of Winc’s mission is striving to contribute to a more sustainable wine industry and a healthier planet, whether it is through our partnerships, winemaking, packaging or shipping.
The search for a more eco-friendly way of doing things has led winemakers and wine drinkers alike to think differently about how we make and enjoy wine. After close examination, it was apparent that every aspect and phase of the wine industry has the potential to support or derail the ongoing quest for sustainability. This fact propelled our team to scrutinize our own actions and processes and think outside the box in the hopes of becoming industry change-makers. As we have seen firsthand within other industries, and in our own personal lives, everyday actions that may appear small at first can prove incredibly impactful.
Here are a few such ways:
Minimal intervention in the winery.
The first thing that comes to mind when deliberating sustainability in the wine industry is the winemaking. Minimal-intervention winemaking is a term that emerged as a response to the increased use of technology, and the subsequent increase in the manipulation of wine.
Winc’s Director of Winemaking, Ryan Zotovich practices respectful winemaking, meaning he believes that 90% of winemaking happens in the vineyard. Proper site selection coupled with meticulous farming and correct picking decisions allows for minimal intervention in the winery.
Cultivate thoughtful partnerships and collaborations.
No matter what line of work you are in, who you count as partners and collaborators undoubtably impacts the nature of your decisions, and whether or not these decisions are eco-friendly. The wine industry is no different. Winc partners with environmentally conscious winemakers, grape-growers and suppliers in order to create a variety of sustainable and organic brands.
Winc is also proud to partner with 1% for the Planet, because a happy planet produces great wine! 1% for the Planet is an international organization that supports a network of eco-conscious businesses committed to donating one percent of their sales toward environmental causes. As a Winc member, 1% of all Pacificana sales go toward benefiting and preserving the environment.
Cut the use of wine capsules.
Wine capsules were originally created to prevent rats and damp conditions from damaging corks during long-distance trips on ships. But today, they aren’t needed. Most wine capsules are made from polylaminate, a three-layer stack of polyethylene inside aluminum.
Aluminum is easily recyclable, but extracting it from the polyethylene is incredibly difficult — so many recycling centers can’t or won’t recycle wine capsules, meaning they accumulate as plastic waste. Winc eliminated capsules on 2,825,400 bottles last year – that’s the length of 3,940 football fields.
Be conscious of packaging and shipping practices.
Our shipping boxes are as compact as they come while still protecting our wine. They are made with up to 70% recyclable materials and are 100% recyclable. All of the pulp we use is also compostable.
Moreover, Winc uses flexitanks for liquid transportation. While a standard shipping container holds approximately 12,000 bottles, a standard flexitank holds the equivalent of about 32,000. The fact that a bulk tank can transport more than double the amount of wine has a positive impact on the environmental emissions associated with transportation. By some estimates, bulk shipments have reduced the carbon footprint of wine transportation by 42%.