Why Champagne Telmont Plans To Reduce The Weight Of Its Glass Bottles
When Champagne Telmont announced it was experimenting with reducing the weight of its glass bottles by 35 grams earlier this month, it presented a platform for the Champagne House to showcase its broader commitment to the environment.
“Reducing our carbon footprint is an obsession for us,” said Ludovic du Plessis, President and CEO of Champagne Telmont in an interview with Forbes. Plessis emphasized how Champagne Telmont’s sustainable efforts pre-date this month’s announcement, and even pre-date the vineyard’s conversion to organic farming in 2017.
“Our whole purpose is to operate in the Name of Mother Nature. The wine will be good if the earth is true,” said Plessis. He further explained that as part of the brand’s endeavor to drive and encourage positive change in the Champagne region of France, Champagne Telmont prioritizes five main objectives: “Preserving terroir, and biodiversity; generalizing eco-design; transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity, and promoting use of ‘green’ energy sources; overhauling the logistics chain, upstream and downstream, to limit greenhouse gas emissions; intensifying efforts in terms of transparency.” When it came to adjusting bottle weight, then, Plessis says the brand saw it as an opportunity to push boundaries.
Today’s market standard champagne bottle weighs 835 grams; it was last lightened in the late 90s, cites Plessis. To clarify, using less glass allows for less carbon dioxide in the melting and manufacturing process, less fuel for transport and extra energy savings. Since the glass used for Champagne Telmont’s bottles currently contributes 20 percent to their carbon emissions, this 35 gram increase could substantially lower their footprint.
Though it’s still in a trial period, Plessis shared, “We hope that our actions will inspire other Champagne houses and that together we will reach our goal.”
The proposed bottle weight of 800 grams, is currently being tested over a six month phase which will allow Champagne Telmont—in partnership with French glassmaker, Verallia—to understand how the weight affects certain nuances of the traditional Champagne method, and how certain adjustments during the winemaking process may be required to maintain product quality. For example, lightening the bottle while maintaining the design and dimensions of the current 835-gram bottle as well as controlling a homogenous distribution of the glass during production, shared Plessis.
Another one of the most important tests is internal pressure, of which the bottles must withstand about six kilograms (about 13 pounds) per square centimeters of pressure, to ensure stability during the ‘prise de mousse’ phase of champagne-making, (translates to ‘capturing the sparkle,’ when the champagne produces its characteristic bubbles during secondary fermentation), explained Plessis. Once durability and quality is confirmed, Telmont will market the first 800-gram bottles of Telmont Reserve Brut (aged a minimum of three years) from 2025 onward.
In the meantime, Plessis and Champagne Telmont continue to deliver on their five brand objectives, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, promoting green energy, encouraging biodiversity within their vineyards, exploring biodynamic techniques and banning air freight transport and eliminating all use of outer packaging and gift boxes—a first in Champagne.
“Our objective is to reduce our environmental footprint at every stage, from the production to the distribution,” concludes Plessis. “Our journey will be long and challenging, but we are going down this road not only with passion and humility but also with great determination and sincerity. We will always share our progress, not to be pinned as an example but to encourage everyone to respect mother nature, to whom we owe so much.”