Grapevine & Wine 03/06/2013

An eco-friendly and low environmental impact wine. This is the future challange

The global GHG contribution of winemaking results at 153 kg CO2/tone and 235 kg CO2/tone for the vineyard and winery respectively

The energy expended for the production of wine is enormous.
The global GHG contribution of winemaking results at 153 kg CO2/tone and 235 kg CO2/tone for the vineyard and winery respectively. By taking into account bottle manufacturing and transportation, it has be estimated that the total carbon footprint could be an average of 2 kg of carbon per standard bottle resulting in a total carbon footprint for the global wine industry of 76.3 million tones of CO2.
Solid and liquid residues not treated in an appropriate way can have serious impact on the environment. Winemaking activity is known to produce high amounts of wastewater (from 0,5 to 14 liters for each liter of wine produced) with sometimes extremely high organic loads (COD 2.500- 67.000 mg/L).
It must be pointed out that Europe accounts for 65% of the global wine production, and that the large majority occurs in the southern countries Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, where climatic conditions impose an increased need for energy in winemaking and a more careful use of water resources.

To achieve the minimization of the environmental impacts, the companies’ management have to consider a global vision of the whole process, “from the cradle to the grave”, so that the resources consumed and the wastes per unit of product are made known. This approach involves the use of the Life Cycle Assessment as a new tool for the environmental management in order to achieve a higher degree of eco-efficiency.

The strategic idea is to foster this methodology among wine producers and, by this way, achieve a wide market uptake. The ECO-PROWINE LCA-LCC tool can be used for many purposes, e.g. environmental labelling, and identification of improvement options, benchmarking, etc. To this end, an application is required that manages data and allows fast storage and retrieval of that data (Life Cycle Inventory Database) with the purpose of assessing inputs (energy, water consumption, agrichemical doses, etc.) and emissions factors and costs to calculate the outputs pursued. The database covers the products used, as produced and consumed in Europe, from the agriculture stage to the commercialization phase.

All physical impacts will be expressed in single scores by evaluating impacts on nature. This will be done in parallel to the Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCC) which is an essential design process for controlling the initial and the future cost. It is important to highlight that the tool can be used by a non-LCA/LCC expert in order to cover a wide sector of wine producers.

The proposed solution lies on delivering a user friendly LCA-LCC methodology specialized for the wine production chain. Hence, it is to make available a simplified LCA-LCC on-line tool that enables wine makers (not expert in LCA methodology) to perform a self-assessment of their wine making processes, in order to detect environmental charges, impacts and costs, for each process stage. The tool will offer a tailored set of feasible techniques and options for improving the environmental performance of the wine making process in a cost effective way. The project aims to provide European wine producers a properly adapted method for measuring their environmental performance, which relies on scientific basis and can be used as a common reference for the definition of labeling rules.

di R. T.