The end of gilding for one Grand Cru Classé as it ramps up its sustainability credentials

Wednesday May 13 2020 by Vitisphere

Through all of its packaging initiatives, the estate intends to save 8 tons of raw materials per year in the long run.Through all of its packaging initiatives, the estate intends to save 8 tons of raw materials per year in the long run. - Photo credit : Fleur Cardinale

In the world of premium wines, packaging draws on the conventions of luxury goods to underscore market positioning. But whilst the psychological impact of a bottle’s weight and gilding on the label is undeniable, their ecological cost is no longer acceptable to Caroline Decoster, marketing manager at Château Fleur Cardinale with its 21.5 hectares of Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé vineyards.

The issue is about overall consistency. At each level of packaging, we can ask ourselves about sustainability”, pointed out Decoster. So with the release of its 2018 vintage, the chateau is reviewing the packaging for all of its labels. “We are going to use lighter glass but production of the bottles was not possible right away due to closure of the furnace during lockdown,” explained Decoster, who looked into labels made from recycled paper (95% sugar cane residue, 5% hemp and flax), plant-based inks including varnishes and thinners (not 100% so that they would remain legible over time) and one particularly symbolic step – an end to hot foil printing.

Is it essential?

Our glass manufacturer explained to us that although the foil caps are recycled, the labels are burnt. Even if the amount of gold used for each hot foil printing is minimal, it is still a precious product that travels a long distance and is wasted. On the scale of global wine production, that amount becomes significant. But is it essential? I don't think that wine becomes more valuable because of it”, said Decoster.

 

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