Three top solution for the wine tourism industry to combat the carbon side effects


1º Sustainability and Wine Producers

The electricity (from fossil fuels) and diesel are still big components for the grape growing in the wine tourism industry in which electricity is without a doubt an incredible process in the winery. So how to reduce this? It is possible to use biofuel from the vineyard and winemaking process as an alternative as a carbon-saving. This alternative source of energy can be found through the seed of the vineyards and in which can be converted to biochar, a means of carbon sequestration, and used as a soil conditioner. Such initiatives would be classified as renewable energy, being offset by the CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere by vineyard photosynthesis. Another way to reduce the carbon footprint is to try to reduce the carbon costs of glass bottles and transport. The production of the wine bottles requires much fossil fuel-based energy to manufacture, and then to transport, so the best way is to recycle its product at the end of its cycle. Of course, that is really remarkable that the wine industry is still using packaging that dates from the seventeenth century, but in the times that we are living in which sustainability concerns are increasing year by year is time to reconsider its whole packaging, after all, there are several alternative packages, all by far more environmentally friendly, in which consist inlined cardboard cartons, bioplastic bag in box, aluminium cans, pouches, among others, that are still being considered. At least this can be considered for the great majority of less expensive wine that is made for immediate consumption rather than aging in a bottle. Furthermore, many people don’t know this fact, that unfortunately, but almost every winery around the globe does release huge amounts of fermentation gas that is one of the most concentrated forms of CO2 known. In order to help decrease its side effects, the wineries have to be well ventilated as workers have been known to die from CO2 asphyxiation, but slowly, some wineries are finally including ecologically procedures in order to try to capture the CO2 given off by their fermentations. This type of technology was created and exists to capture the fermentation CO2, clean it of impurities, compress, and reuse or sell it. Another way of reducing this formation is the sequestration as a limestone, also another one is to use CO2 to enhance the photosynthesis of algae, which in turn can produce renewable sources of biodiesel.

2º The Role of the Tour Operators and Experience Locations

Nowadays the wine lovers go looking for a guided tour of the winery, with a short explanation of the wine’s profile and portfolio, followed by fantastic wine tastings that are paired with regional delicacies of the country. This is the usual wine tourism offer, but some tour operators and local wineries and estates, are adding to their portfolio safer experiences, and at the same time, experiences that can reduce their own carbon print. Such experiences are going beyond the product as such but also including the services that allow the customer to live a transformative one. These experiences can be linked with wine directly, starting in the vineyard with pruning and harvesting experiences to making and bottling your own wine, or from learning how to understand aromas and taste and pair wine with food to wine museums and education. Furthermore, many wineries are also developing activities that are linked with the emotional values that people may attribute to wine such as wellness, entertainment, reduction of anxiety, nostalgia, or community feeling/contribution. Activities take the form of the spa, yoga classes, horse riding, cooking classes, gourmet/local cuisine, family activities, and art events, among others. You can make some of these wonderful activities in Quinta do Vallado for example. Moreover, and in order to reduce waste, there are also other resolutions that the local places of wine visits can also do like, install energy-saving CFL bulbs or LED lights, practice recycling and minimize the amount of solid waste, purchase energy-efficient appliances, switch off appliances at the wall to reduce standby power, train staff or volunteers on their emissions reduction actions, provide information to visitors on reducing their emissions, roofing insulation, choose suppliers taking actions to reduce their emissions, use room fans instead of air conditioners, market the emissions reduction initiatives of your business, operate new fuel-efficient vehicles or vessels, use solar or heat pump hot water install solar photovoltaic power, use ethanol mix or biofuels in vehicles, drive electric cars or hybrid–electric vehicles, purchase Green Power electricity from renewable energy, only to name a few.


3º Wine Tourism Growth and Sustainability

As we have already comprehended, tourism is responsible for roughly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, from plane flights and boat rides to souvenirs and lodging, various activities contribute to tourism’s carbon footprint. So how can you help reduce your footprint in this industry? Well, some of the solutions that you can start to put in motion are your activities, for example. Go for low carbon activities where you can enjoy on and offsite such as walking, cycling, horseback riding, instead of a car with fossil energies go for an electric car, in which you can do all of this in the middle of some beautiful vineyards so you can savor even more the contact with nature. This is a very important option due to the fact that the fuel fossils are largely responsible for the emissions of CO2. Besides this, try to choose accommodations that present in their offer various ways of sustainability like the fact to have an organic garden, in which the products are used for the dishes of their restaurant and that have adapted their menu to a minimum of food waste, after all, the wastage of food in tourism is part of a larger, global issue. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest emitter of CO2. Moreover, another important fact is the souvenirs, many of us return home with magnets, art pieces, and other trinkets that we usually buy at the end of a visit to an estate for example if in case it has a wine shop, to remind them our vacation, but the fact is that this the carbon footprint of an item must be calculated with production, manufacturing, and shipping in mind. So instead of buying these types of souvenirs, why not and while visiting a fantastic wine estate try some activities like the possibility of making your own bottle of wine? Amazing isn’t it?

In conclusion, in the fantastic wine tourism industry, the wine tourism markets, wineries, and related perks are in need to continuously transform and expand their business for a more open and sustainable one. Furthermore, the wine tourist also needs be a key-player in the wine sector in order to help this industry to reach faster the success of reducing the carbon footprint.


Text by Wine Tourism in Portugal for Porto City Hall

Photo 1, 2 and 4 credits: Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Awarded with Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices in 2017)

Photo 3 credits: Quinta do Vallado (Awarded with Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices in 2016)


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