October 17, 2006
New Wine Scoring System on the Horizon?

Robert M. Parker Jr.'s 100-point system to summarize a wine's attributes may not be the only scoring method consumers consider as they ponder what wine to buy. An article in today's New York Times suggests that wines someday also could be scored according to the impact their production has on the environment. That is, a cabernet sauvignon may be annointed with 93 points because it is more energy efficient than another example of the varietal whose production methods were found to be wasteful, thus racking up just 74 points. The Times doesn't go quite that far in its report, but in an era of increasing concern about global warming and other negative environmental consequences because of the way business is done, why not?

At any rate, the Times feature was based on a year-long University of Palermo study of the environmental cost to produce a single wine at Milazzo winery in Sicily. The research concluded that each bottle of the wine created more than a pound of waste and put 16 grams of sulfur dioxide into the air. The total 100,000-bottle run of the wine generated "22,000 pounds of plastic waste, 11,000 pounds of paper and oceans of wastewater."

The findings led Milazzo to change several of its winemaking practices.

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