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How to toast Earth Day

Dr. Vino is still working the low-carbon wine beat. It seems someone has actually taken up the challenge of delivering a quality wine in TetraPak packaging. These cardboard-and-aluminum “juice boxes” are dramatically lighter than traditional glass bottles, and therefore greatly reduce carbon emissions from shipping.

Actually, the maker of the Yellow + Blue Malbec has taken a number of measures to shave emissions:

> Instead of bottling the wine in Mendoza, he put them in a 24,000 liter flexitank. The wine was trucked over the Andes, loaded onto a ship on the Chilean coast, then shipped through the Panama canal and up to Montreal below deck in an insulated container (but not refrigerated). There it was trucked to Toronto where the TetraPak packaging material was waiting…

> The facility in Toronto is also certified organic. The wine is put in the one liter boxes that weigh 40 grams each (compared to 500 – 750g for a bottle) and loaded onto a truck for a warehouse in New Jersey.

That might sound like quite a journey — and it is — but it still represents a 50% reduction in carbon footprint from the traditional method of bottling near the source.

Of course, TetraPak has its own issues (hard to recycle; makes product look like industrial cleaner; etc.), and locally produced wines are still going to be a better bet if carbon is your sole consideration. But if you’re interested in voting with your dollars for a shift in global production techniques, consider picking up a…bottle? Box? Pack? It should be a good conversation starter at the very least, and that’s not a bad feature in any wine.

One small problem: I have no idea where to find Yellow + Blue. If I find out, I’ll post an update.

(Dr. Vino does have advice for locavores as well. Of course, left coast wine drinkers are well-covered. East coasters might check out the Lenz Estate Merlot, produced on Long Island.)

**Disclaimer**: As noted in the past, I know a fair amount about carbon and very little about wine. Buyer beware, particularly if your palate is easily offended.

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