Thursday, 11 February 2010

Green Valentine's Day gifts: wine & champagne

Wines made from organic grapes, packaged in lightweight bottles and transported in a low carbon fashion are just some of the choices you've got when it comes to sustainable vino.
Eco concerns• The trend away from natural cork towards plastic corks and metal screwtops could threaten the Portugese habitat of the Iberian Lynx.
• The carbon emitted from making heavyweight glass bottles and transporting them around the world adds up. Greener options include buying wine packaged in glass alternatives, trying one of the New World brands that's carbon offsetting (such as Cullen Ellen Bussell, below), or checking out the increasingly highly-rated English wines.
• An analysis of 40 European wines in 2008 found a total of 24 pesticides, though the European Crop Protection Association dismissed the report, saying the pesticides were essential and safe. Bear in mind that wine made from organic grapes can't strictly be labelled "organic wine", because all wines have sulphites added for preservative reasons.
Top 5 green choices1. Served at Rick Stein's fish restaurants, the Camel Valley range of award-winning sparkling wines, including a rose made from pinot noir, will impress even the most enthusiastic aficianados of real Champagne - but without the carbon emissions from transporting it from France. 2. If nothing but the real thing will do, try this AOC Champagne Carte Rouge. It's biodynamic and relatively cheap (£22 a bottle) and good quality.3. Cullen Ellen Bussell White Margaret River Western Australia - this Australian white is biodynamic, organic and carbon offset too.4. Chapel Down Flint - an English wine that "smells of English fields" says our wine expert Victoria Moore. Waitrose is currently out of stock, but Everywine will sell you a case for six for £72. 5. Anything from Vinceremos - this former Which? organic wine specialist of the year has a huge selection of organic wines.
What sustainable tipples do you like? Share your recommendations below.