Wine Grape Hauling Committed to Sustainable Future
Monday, December 3, 2018|
by G3 ENTERPRISES
The wine industry has long been at the forefront of sustainability. Years before “sustainability” became a popular buzzword, members of the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers initiated the Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2001 to promote sustainable practices in the vineyard, in the winery and in running their businesses. More recently, Sonoma County winegrape growers have committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region in the United States. Throughout California and the west, a variety of programs are in place to certify winegrowing and winemaking as environmentally-friendly.
Therefore, it should be no surprise that the sustainable movement has been pursued by other industries connected to winemaking including ag hauling. Driving and vehicle operating techniques, development of lightweight trailers, improved aerodynamics, better tires, alternative fuels and cargo management are just some of the ways the trucking industry has developed and implemented more sustainable practices to lessen the industry’s impact on the environment.
Improved Packaging Processes
Before transporting grapes from the vineyards to the winery, grapes need to be packed and loaded for transport. Proper packaging not only protects the valuable grapes from the elements but it enables more grapes to be loaded onto each truck reducing the overall number of truck trips required. The choice of packaging used can have a significant impact on the efficiency of the transportation and lower the carbon footprint.
Some other methods companies are utilizing to lower their emissions while hauling grapes include:
Re-engineered Packaging Designs
Many vineyards are choosing to ship grapes using specially-designed lightweight packaging that reduces drag and can increase fuel efficiency. Today, there is great understanding that the shape of packaging can also impact fuel economy. The objective is to utilize containers that pack tightly leaving little free space such as the bag-in-box design, interlocking bottles and tetra packs to allow for more units to be placed on the truck for transport. Packing more units results in reduced truck trips.
Reuse and Recycling
In addition to changes in packaging, incorporating recycled materials in the transportation process can help to reduce a wine’s carbon footprint. More and more packaging suppliers are offering reused materials that can be recycled after use, such as glass, cardboard, 100% post consumer waste labels, corks, and one-way PET kegs thereby keeping materials out of the landfill.
A Greener Future
The winemaking industry is dependent on the air, sun, and soil that surrounds us. California’s wine industry has led the world in switching to more sustainable practices, especially when it comes to transportation.
With the trucking industry’s commitment to sustainability and its utilization of new eco-friendly packaging, innovative practices and new approaches to transportation, the result includes the reduction of the weight of their cargo, cutting the number of trucks out on the road, and improving the carbon footprint of each bottle of wine that they sell. In the future, we can expect to see more companies taking steps to maximize fuel efficiency during transportation and help protect the environment around us.