Ship or Truck Transport Makes All the Difference in Wine's Carbon Footprint
If you live in New York City, French wines beat out Californians by a wide margin in terms of carbon footprint. Photo: Dr Wendy Longo via flickr
There's no link yet for the online version, but the print version May issue of National Geographic features a cool article on the carbon footprint of wine. Though not authors of the article, the heavy lifting on the carbon calculations was done by Tyler Colman of DrVino and TreeHugger contributer Pablo Paster, and the results are very interesting:Transporting that wine to you by truck or ship really changes the carbon footprint of your glass of Pinot. Breaking it down by wines from Australia, California, Chile, and France, and sending them to Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City yielded these carbon footprints for each 750 ml glass bottle.
French Wine Best for East Coast USAIf you live in New York your options, best to worst, are:Bordeaux, France (which are shipped via ship) = 0.3 pounds of CO2 equivalent Santiago, Chile (also sent by ship) = 0.4 pounds Sydney, Australia (ship, again) = 0.9 poundsNapa, California (driven by truck) = 4.4 pounds
Claret or Chileans Top Chicago ChoiceIn Chicago here's how wine's carbon footprint breaks down (it's ship and then truck for all of them, except California which is all truck):French wines = 1.5 pounds of CO2 equivalentChilean wines = 1.6 pounds Australian wines = 2.1 pounds Californian wines = 3.2 pounds
California's Conundrum Chilean wines (very) slightly better than Californian:Chilean wines = 0.5 pounds of CO2 equivalentCalifornian or Australian wines = 0.6 pounds French wines = 3.0 pounds
There are one thing I take away from this: Sending things by ship over long distances is pretty darn efficient (even if still quite polluting)—to the degree that sending a bottle of wine from Chile or Australia to Los Angeles by ship has similar emissions that driving it in a truck the 430 miles from Napa to Southern California.
I even imagine that sending that California wine to New York via ship, by way of the Panama canal may very well beat out driving it in a truck. Though perhaps sending it by train across the US would beat both.
An even better option: Drinking wine made even more locally to you than Napa is to Los Angeles.
via: Dr VinoTransportation, Carbon EmissionsSlow Freight: Sail Power Doesn't Need a Cast of Thousands"Just 15 of the world's biggest ships emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m cars"Commercial Shipping Particle Air Pollution = Half That From All the Cars in the WorldWineHow to Go Green: WineBask in the Warm Glow Of Wine, Without Warming the WorldGetting Green Wines From 4 Great Wine Regions