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A Greener Beaujolais Nouveau - In Stores Tomorrow

By Guest Writer, November 19, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Guest Writer
The third Thursday of November has always been the first day where the new vintage can be tasted in the form of Beaujolais Nouveau! Beyond the first taste of the year’s quality, Nouveau is more about celebration. Celebration of the harvest, celebration of the first revenue from a year of hard labor, and celebration of another year past all the way through the holidays. Best enjoyed fresh, or before spring returns, Nouveau is a terrific compliment to the rich, earthy and spicy flavors that come across the holiday table. The crazy complex flavors of roasts, game, mushrooms, squash, root vegetables and flavorings such as sage, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, peppers, and the like are perfectly complemented by Nouveau’s grapey flavor and refreshing acidity. In order to get Nouveau on the third Thursday of November, it is flown around the world to restaurants, bars and parties. Historically, fuel was low cost and the environment not foremost of consideration, so the carbon footprint wasn’t an issue. But with the environment ever more important to an increasing number of wine drinkers, the cost and fuel required to fly wine bottled in heavy glass around the globe has caused wineries to reconsider how this fun and eventful wine is distributed. Whole Foods Market is proud to present the first ever bottling of Nouveau in plastic bottles! This lowers the carbon footprint of getting this wine to your table. Just think, less guilt while enjoying wine with friends! And it lowers the cost for you to get it to the table too. Just imagine sitting on a fatter wallet while you’re enjoying the same exact delicious wine with friends! It’s more than delicious. It’s a new way to enjoy this traditional regional wine. Worried about how plastic changes the way a wine may taste? Well don’t be. Nouveau is for near term drinking. This wine should be in your belly before either plastic or oxygen has the time to impact the fresh juicy character of this wine. Nouveau drinkers can rejoice with a lower priced and greener wine in 2008. If you’re not a Nouveau drinker, then there is no better year to join the celebration. Erez Klein, our Wine Buyer for the Pacific Northwest Region of Whole Foods Market, began a passion for food and wine when travelling the world during his childhood. In college, his studies in political economy were waylaid by a course in wine appreciation and he found himself reading (and drinking) everything he could get hold of regarding wine and history. Before joining Whole Foods Market, Erez worked in Napa Valley with famed wine centric restaurateur Joyce Goldstein at Square One Restaurant and at The Auberge du Soleil Resort as Wine Director.
Category: Holiday Archive

 

21 Comments

Comments

Moira says ...
I was told the reason for plastic was the shipping weight. It's lighter. So much for trying.
11/21/2008 1:12:37 PM CST
David Hyson says ...
One other fact about plastic bottles was touched upon in that it is a petroleum product. Depending on the type plastic there is a good chance of chemicals seeping into the wine.
11/21/2008 1:51:34 PM CST
Pestilence says ...
Did anyone actually read this press release for common sense? I call BS like the posters above. "Historically, fuel was low cost and the environment not foremost of consideration, so the carbon footprint wasn’t an issue." The Carbon Footprint was an issue, its just that environmentalism wasn't mainstream enough to factor into the bottling decisions. I'd also like to know the trade-off between the weight savings from plastic to glass and the recyclability wastefulness of plastic from glass. More likely, the cost of glass has gone up and someone's trying to sell an economic decision as an environmental one.
11/21/2008 3:53:15 PM CST
Carey says ...
Wow, plastic bottles, how are they green(other than the color)? I'm so disappointed. I too am trying to reduce our household's dirty global footprint including the elimination of plastic and petroleum products(there are so many!). I've grown to accept screw-tops for wine(although I never buy the bottles with them), but plastic is just going too far in order to save money. DeBoeuf's Beaujolais Nouveau is a well known wine and a lovely holiday addition, but I can't support wine in plastic bottles. I seriously doubt that the Beaujolais Nouveau that stayed in France is in plastic. What a bummer. I should add that the Whole Foods stores in Colorado don't sell wine(yet?), at least not to my knowledge. I would think that of all the national grocery chains, Whole Foods would adamantly refuse plastic bottles, tradition or not.
11/21/2008 10:35:42 AM CST
Karen says ...
You can't please everyone all the time. I understand both sides of the story but I'm giving a *high five* this time around in favor of the PET bottles. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of change, but perhaps next year folks will be more familiar with the concept and embrace it. It's a modernization of a steadfast tradition; that's even tougher! Another benefit- Plastic is much safer than a glass bottle on a bustling holiday kitchen counter...
12/04/2008 12:43:38 AM CST
Kristin says ...
I have to say, I'm appalled that bottling this year's beaujolais nouveau in plastic bottles is considered going green! All the news this year has been about reducing the amount of plastic bottles in landfills--glass is much more recyclable than plastic (and I see nothing about this bottle's recyclability). I buy George DuBoeuf's beaujolais nouveau every year, but today when I picked it up and realized it was in a plastic bottle, which my family has made a concerted effort to reduce in our house, I put it back down. With Whole Foods selling aluminum and steel bottles to replace our overdependence on plastic water bottles, I'm shocked at the contradiction, plus the whole fact that plastic is made from petroleum. I'm very disappointed in Whole Foods.
11/20/2008 5:36:23 PM CST
Justin Graves says ...
Did they think about Tetra Pak? It's not a "nouveau" concept. Not petroleum based and light weight for shipping. Frankly I wish more wine makers used the tetra paks. When faced with a decision between two similar quality wines I would ALWAYS go with the Tetra Paks.
11/22/2008 3:59:52 PM CST
leslie says ...
i got so excited to purchase some of this wine for thanksgiving, until i read the part about it being bottled in plastic. come on, guys, get real. remember how you quit having plastic grocery bags in favor of paper? this article is selling something, not wine, but something.
11/22/2008 6:16:38 PM CST
leslie says ...
if y'all are concerned about shipping weight why not feature local wine makers? think global shop local, right?
11/22/2008 6:18:54 PM CST
Daga says ...
Beaujolais Nouveau is, like, saving green, if you know what I mean. :)
11/23/2008 1:18:57 PM CST
Alexa Drubay says ...
What is this, some kind of awful joke? Maybe they think they can do this to Americans. Promote the usage of plastic bottles? Not very green! Already, the Beaujolais Nouveau is scoffed at by wine connoisseurs , how is this going to help the image if you offer someone a plastic bottle of wine? I am an American living in Switzerland. Most wine drinkers here can't understand the fascination with Le Beaujolais Nouveau however there are a few of us that truely enjoy this wine for what it is- a fruity, light, young red wine and good excuse to have a fun party with friends. I just purchased Georges DuBoeuf's Beaujolais Nouveau- Village at my local grocery store for $7.50/a glass bottle with a screw cap. In this day and age, I can I can understand that they are selling cork-free bottles . I actually prefer a screw-cap to a plastic cork.
11/23/2008 1:49:07 PM CST
Eda Meredith says ...
Nicely done, Doug. Very informative response to the Green issue regarding the Beaujolais Neau offered at Whole Foods. I'm definitely buying a case for our family Thanksgiving festivities!
11/26/2008 2:35:13 PM CST
Chris says ...
Agreed, Austin. Way to go, Whole Foods. If people would bother to investigate things before flipping out, wouldn't it be great?
11/26/2008 9:50:42 AM CST
winnie woodward says ...
I am shocked by the "green" plastic bottle. I certainly will NOT purchase this Beaujolais Nouveau. I am so disappointed that our thanksgiving tradition of drinking DuBoeuf Beajolais Nouveau won't happen this year.
11/25/2008 9:18:38 PM CST
Cloie says ...
The Bouchard Aine et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau, in Southern California Whole Foods, is fantastic! All controversies aside, this wine is a great representation of true young Beaujolais style with all it's candied charm and vibrant, mouth-watering fruit. I served this wine at a my latest dinner party and it was by far the favorite.
11/23/2008 9:29:10 PM CST
Austin LaGrange says ...
6 OF 1 and a HALF DOZEN OF THE OTHER. The plastic bottle saves in the weight of shipping, thus more product for less on the same ship and it's recyclable. Glass is heavier but and is recyclable too. What's all the fuss? You can't please everybody and there seem to be some people here hanging out waiting for ANYTHING TO CRITICIZE. I like the wine and I think the package is ingenious. Way to go Whole Foods.
11/24/2008 1:55:09 PM CST
Our Wine Guys says ...
Hi all - Thank you for your passion and concern for the environment. Like the paper vs. plastic debate, this is certainly a complex issue. While we know that plastic is not perfect, we believe it does offer some environmental benefits over glass that are worth considering. Plastic is much lighter weight than glass: an empty glass bottle weights an average of 265 g vs. 30 g for a PET bottle. This helps reduce the environmental impact on shipping full bottles to our stores, and also shipping empty bottles to recycling plants as it increases the quantity of wine per load and economizes on fuel use. Based on a calculation by Triple Pundit, shipping 1,000 PET bottles 1,000 km emits about 33.5 kg of CO2. Shipping 1,000 glass bottles 1,000 km would emit about 225 kg of CO2, a major increase over PET bottles. In addition, our Nouveau bottles are 100% recyclable, and can be made into hundreds of everyday products such as fleece jackets, carpeting, and lumber for outdoor decking. Plastic requires much less energy to recycle than glass, and recycling one pound of PET plastic bottles saves approximately 12,000 BTUs of heat energy. Plastics are made with petroleum, but glass requires petroleum for production as well, and producing a glass bottle emits about fifteen times more GHGs than producing a plastic bottle. Finally, we have taken care to select one of the safest plastics on the market, which also protects the wine’s quality and flavor. We realized it was a risky move being the first retailer to bring in this annual tradition in plastic bottles. But caring for the environment is one of our core values, and we pride ourselves on being an industry leader in environmental stewardship. While this solution isn’t perfect, we believe that it could be an improvement over the alternative and is thus worthy of consideration. Doug Bell National Wine Buyer
11/24/2008 11:01:13 AM CST
Cathy says ...
I too am just shocked that you would have this awful concept promoted at my local Mill Valley store. There is always a market for recycled glass; the market is NEGATIVE for plastic - recyclers have to pay to get rid of it. Plus, it gives the false assurance that "I can buy all of the plastic I want because its recycled". How about this for a ratio: Take the amount of plastic purchased (including plastic bottles) per year and compare THAT to how many recycled fleece coats you buy in a year (or fences if you do that yearly). I have been so encouraged that you have phased out plastic check out bags. But, if you were being consistent, you would phase them back in --- because they cost less to ship than paper. Go back to your original model. Its pretty obvious to me that the most thoughtful letters written by the most loyal customers think this is a BAD idea. The Treehuggers sight calls this Greenwashing. ITS AN ECONOMIC DECISION by the Beaujolais industry - to save them shipping costs. Do they even sell this wine in yucky plastic packaging in France? Or do they think it will take an American market to accept this. Bottom Line: Forget the Beaujolais; buy American wines - they are just as good or better anyway.
12/13/2008 8:46:42 PM CST
Cathy says ...
PS: So, the company is passing on the responsiblity for its packaging to our American recyclers, landfills, etc. Can we ship this light weight packaging back to the French winery when we are done drinking the wine? Sans wine, it shoud be really lightweight. It could then end up in a French landfill.
12/13/2008 9:10:58 PM CST
Roger says ...
In some markets, like Las Vegas and Phoenix, glass recycling is not as prevalent as plastic recycling. In Las Vegas, glass is collected for recycling only in residential areas, and from large quantity generators such as hotels. Restaurants with bars generate a considerable amount of glass, but are unable to recycle it because no market exists in Las Vegas for recycled glass. It must be transported to California for processing and sale. The weight and volume of the glass, the inability to process it in Southern Nevada for sale in other states, as well as the Bottle Bill in California, all make glass recycling in Las Vegas cost prohibitive. For that reason, local recycling companies will not collect it. This makes it difficult to effectively recycle what would in other regions be a valuable commodity. Unfortunately, according to a quick search on the internet, only 25% of glass bottles produced each year are recycled. Which leads me to believe that Whole Foods Market’s decision to reduce 100% of the transportation emissions is the greater good, especially when plastic is much easier to recycle in markets like Las Vegas. Glad to see that everyone here cares enough about recycling to blog about plastic vs. glass. It makes me optimistic that more people will make an effort to recycle, but in the mean time, any company's efforts to improve the environment should be applauded.
12/14/2008 3:19:41 AM CST
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