December 31, 2007
'Green' Wine for New Year's Eve

Midnight tonight will be our last chance in 2007 and our first in 2008 to show that all the concern expressed about global warming this year has had some impact on our lives.

If you are here and you toast old and new with a California sparkling wine, you're doing good. If it's Champagne or Spumante or Cava or some other sparkling wine from Europe, shame on you.

This is the conclusion I'm drawing from an opinion piece that appeared in yesterday's New York Times. In the essay, wine blogger Tyler Colman urges New Yorkers to celebrate New Year's Eve with bubbly from the immediate area or Europe. He calculates that a bottle of sparkling wine making the trek by truck from California to New York or Connecticut is responsible for contributing 5.7 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. By comparison, a bottle of Champagne from France adds only about three pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, he suggests. Somewhere in Ohio, he calculates, the traveling wines meet a break-even point, meaning that west of the Buckeye State wines from California have the "green" edge, while to the east the French have the advantage.

His essay is brief - read it here - and he doesn't substantiate his figures, but this is the New York Times, after all, so there must be some substance there. And in the new year I suspect we will be able to learn more of Colman's reasoning. He's to publish a book with the intriguing title of "Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink."

In the meantime, I've got my bottles of sparkling wine on ice. I chose them before I read the Colman column. I'm feeling good both are from California.

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