Published 10 months ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Champagne Telmont
The bottle, 35 grams lighter than the commercial standard,
could represent a significant decrease in the carbon footprint of Champagne bottling.
35 grams may not sound like much at first take; but scaled up across an industry
that uses a mammoth amount of glass, and you’ve got significant potential for
Champagne Telmont and French glassmaker
Verallia recently announced the success of their
most recent experiment of using an 800-gram Champagne bottle — an improvement
on a bottle launched in 2010 — and
they’re excited about the implicit reduction in emissions created throughout the
production, storage and transportation of the glass.
“We decided to challenge the 835 number; and today we have the first results,
and they’re very positive,” Telmont president Ludovic du
While neither du Plessis or Verallia detailed the exact methodology of the
initial 3,000-bottle experiment, the bottles were tested to meet the internal
pressurization required of a Champagne (more than twice the
of an inflated car tire), along with the ability to keep that pressure intact
through storage and movement.
“All the mandatory elements linked to the Champagne process and our industrial
process have been taken into consideration in order to guarantee the bottle’s
resistance and use (for example, pressure, bottle stacking, disgorging) within
the whole lifecycle of the process,” a Verallia rep told SB.
Telmont sent a batch of bottles via cargo ship to Singapore as part of the
testing and all arrived without any damage. Du Plessis adds that the key is
being able to use automation throughout all parts of the process, as human touch
can create additional pain points for potential damage.
“For us to take the 30,000-bottle risk with this means we are super confident,”
Glass production is extremely energy-intensive, consuming more than 200
trillion BTUs annually
to form molten material that can then be shaped into, in this case, Champagne
bottles. Many producers have their own specific glass design, which further
raises the emissions output. (In contrast, regular wine bottles use less
as they don’t have the same needs as a Champagne bottle.)
For Telmont, specifically, the company reports that glass represents about 24
percent of its total carbon output; and this new bottle would reduce that by
about 4 percent.
Telmont sticks to a “classic” design that’s readily available, made from 87
percent recycled glass (Telmont and Verallia are working to get that number up
to 90 percent). He adds that should other Champagne houses want to use the new,
lighter glass, he’s more than ready to share it with them.
However, the largest Champagne houses produce upwards of 30 million bottles
dwarfing this trial run of 30,000. There’s also the issue of evolving an
industry rich in centuries-old tradition and strict standards. Convincing these
Maisons to change their ways will not be an overnight process — it will take
time and proof points from Telmont’s initiative, which is set to be released in
2026 following a three-year bottle-aging of its certified organic Réserve de la
There is hope, though — as the larger Champagne consortium was one of the
earliest wine regions to take action on climate change, with an initial plan
dating back to
Among its most pertinent achievements, Comité
Champagne is treating and reusing 100 percent of
the water used to make the product and some novel thinking around reintegration
In January, Telmont released its own sustainability
which details not only a number of initiatives the company has committed to or
is working on, but tries to put a focus on some of the broader climate-related
issues in the Champagne business.
Beyond commitments to climate- and net-positivity, the guide clearly defines
where Telmont observes its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions originating from — with
glass, of course, being a large contributor of Scope
Du Plessis says that Telmont is also transitioning to green glass from
traditional clear glass (including the new bottle); and this change could reduce
Telmont’s Scope 3 emissions by 19.3 percent by 2030.
He adds that Telmont is also trialing a glass return program in the Champagne
region — asking customers to return used, empty bottles for cleaning and reuse
as sparkling wine or cider bottles (Champagne regulations do not allow used
bottles to be refilled with new juice).
Telmont is also on a mission to transition to organic
with a goal to reach 100 percent organic certification by 2025 for its own
estate, and by 2031 on its partners’ vineyards.
Published Apr 25, 2023 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Geoff is a freelance journalist and copywriter focused on making the world a better place through compelling copy. He covers everything from apparel to travel while helping brands worldwide craft their messaging. In addition to Sustainable Brands, he's currently a contributor at Penta, AskMen.com, Field Mag and many others. You can check out more of his work at geoffnudelman.com.