By Gary Hartley

Dom Pérignon is having a shave in an attempt to reduce CO2.

Of course, those with knowledge of the finer things in life may be raising eyebrows at the thought of the 17th-century monk making a 21st-century appearance in the name of grooming. But the shave in this case is happening to the glass bottles that bear his name.

The legendary cellar master at the Benedictine Abbey in Hautvillers thickened the champagne bottle over 300 years ago (along with other innovations) to quell the rash of explosions that gave bubbly the unfortunate nickname, ‘the devil’s wine’.

Now, in the name of reducing the champagne industry’s carbon footprint, technological developments are enabling the trade to safely slim back. The move comes in response to a study of champagne’s carbon footprint in 2003, and will cut the company’s carbon dioxide output by 8,000 metric tons a year – equivalent to taking 4,000 small cars off the road.

The industry aims to cut 25 percent of its CO2 emissions by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050, and 65 grams – just over seven percent – will be shaved off this ‘green bottle’. Big names including Veuve Cliquot, and Dom Pérignon’s parent company Moët & Chandon, have already switched to the new bottles, although they are currently still under fermentation; other brands are still deliberating.

Of course, there are even lighter alternatives; many wine producers are using plastic bottles and box containers to reduce their carbon footprint. Could it be argued that, if Dom Pérignon truly wanted to reduce its carbon impact, they should stop using energy-intensive glass altogether? Would the innovating monk approve? Or is the tradition of the iconic bottle too valuable to lose?

With the brands beloved of society high-flyers and rap stars the world over taking a serious look at their carbon emissions, one might say this is the ultimate in eco-bling.


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