Approach

The energy expended for the production of wine is enormous. Some studies indicate in 2.618 GJ the amount of energy required in the processing of 1 tone of grapes into a final product; 1.063 GJ/tones in the vineyard and 1.555 GJ/tones in the winery. Based on these values, the total energy requirement for the global winemaking industry (excluding bottle making and final product transport) can be estimated in over 105 PJ which represents a significant energy requirement, enough to supply, for example, all the space heating and hot water needs for 1.67 million households in the UK for a year.

The global GHG contribution of winemaking results at 153 kg CO2/tone and 235 kg CO2/tone for the vineyard and winery respectively. By taking into account bottle  manufacturing and transportation, it has be estimated that the total carbon footprint could be an average of 2 kg of carbon per standard bottle resulting in a total carbon footprint for the global wine industry of 76.3 million tones of CO2.
Solid and liquid residues not treated in an appropriate way can have serious impact on the environment. Winemaking activity is known to produce high amounts of wastewater (from 0,5 to 14 liters for each liter of wine produced) with sometimes extremely high organic loads (COD 2.500- 67.000 mg/L).

It must be pointed out that Europe accounts for 65% of the global wine production, and that the large majority occurs in the southern countries Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, where climatic conditions impose an increased need for energy in winemaking and a more careful use of water resources.

Moreover, most of the production is concentrated in few regions, where grape growing is by far the biggest and almost exclusive agricultural activity, and the wine industry accounts for the large majority of the employment. For instance, wine in Languedoc-Roussillon in France represents 45% of the total final agricultural output and vineyard holdings account for more than 70% of all agricultural holdings. Similarly, grape growing involve more than 50% of the total agricultural activity in Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), Norte and Centro (Portugal), Champagne (France), Toscana (Italy), Sicily (Italy), Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany). In these regions, wine industry has an enormous environmental and economical impact.

The European wine sector constitutes a very diversified and dynamic sector in continuous evolution where it is needed to analyze the environmental impact caused by the production process. The wine production has a considerable contribution to the value of the final agricultural output in many producer Member States (particularly, in Spain: 5.4%, Luxemburg: 7.5%, Austria: 6.1%, Italy: 9.8%, France: 14.3%, Portugal: 16.8%). In spite of the fact that the principles of viticulture and wine production are the same throughout the world, natural, economic, social and technological conditions of individual producers can be very different.

To achieve the minimization of the environmental impacts, the companies’ management have to consider a global vision of the whole process, “from the cradle to the grave”, so that the resources consumed and the wastes per unit of product are made known. This approach involves the use of the Life Cycle Assessment as a new tool for the environmental management in order to achieve a higher degree of eco-efficiency.

The strategic idea is to foster this methodology among wine producers and, by this way, achieve a wide market uptake. The ECO-PROWINE LCA-LCC tool can be used for many purposes, e.g. environmental labelling, and identification of improvement options, benchmarking, etc. To this end, an application is required that manages data and allows fast storage and retrieval of that data (Life Cycle Inventory Database) with the purpose of assessing inputs (energy, water consumption, agrichemical doses, etc.) and emissions factors and costs to calculate the outputs pursued. The database covers the products used, as produced and consumed in Europe, from the agriculture stage to the commercialization phase.

All physical impacts will be expressed in single scores by evaluating impacts on nature. This will be done in parallel to the Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCC) which is an essential design process for controlling the initial and the future cost. It is important to highlight that the tool can be used by a non-LCA/LCC expert in order to cover a wide sector of wine producers.