Sustainable, Organic Wines Added to Catering Menu

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Would you believe wine from a box tastes just as good as wine from a bottle? We do…and so do the staff of Catering on the Charles who added an organic, boxed wine to their menu earlier this year.

It was a logical step, according to Dining Services’ Catering Director Debra Dewar.

“For several years we have been operating Zero Waste events on campus and we want to make sure that our food and beverage offerings also reflect our commitment to sustainability. We would like to be able to offer our clients an organic wine that’s friendly to the environment”.

That was how Y+B Wines came into the picture. Sustainability Director, Dennis Carlberg, recommended the brand based on its quality and commitment to the environment.

Boxed wine has gotten a bad rap over the years, but Y+B is doing everything it can to alter past perceptions. The wine industry has an enormous carbon footprint, and in an attempt to reduce it,  Y+B ensures their wine is “shipped responsibly and packaged smarter”.

“We love it because not only is it organic, but the packaging is more sustainable and the cartons easily transported, ”said Dining Services’ Sustainability Coordinator, Sabrina Pashtan.

Why the box? Well it’s not a technically a box, but a carton engineered specifically to preserve the freshness and quality of the product, made by Swedish food processing and packaging company Tetra Pak. Not only do the cartons preserve the wine as well as a traditional bottle, but Tetra Pak is committed to environmental responsibility and primarily uses products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to make their packaging.

Using Tetra Pak cartons versus glass bottles results in a 43% waste reduction. A case of Y+B weighs 26 pounds and holds 12 liters of wine, meaning 93% of the volume is wine and only 7% packaging. However, using traditional wine bottles, a case would weigh 40 pounds and only hold 9 liters of wine, a 50/50 packaging to wine ratio. That’s a lot of waste for not much wine.

Transportation also plays a major role in the wine industry’s impact on the environment. To reduce this impact, Y+B buys wine from vintners before it is bottled and then ships in bulk in steel tanks to fill their cartons and distribute. This cuts down on the number of trucks needed to transport the wine, resulting in a product with a 46% smaller carbon footprint than a wine shipped a in glass bottle.

“With the high cost of fossil fuel driving up the cost of shipping, we saw the price of good imported wines rising out of range for the average buyer. In our search for a way to lower these costs for quality-conscious wine drinkers, we found a solution that is also great for the environment. Then we got a little ‘greener’ by partnering with organic wineries that use only traditional, natural winemaking processes” -Y+B

Y&B is not only committed to the environment, they are also committed to providing a quality product.  This means that there are never any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers used on their grapes. In addition, their hand-picked grapes are certified organic, by a third-party, from the very beginning. They are checked at the growing, wine-making and packaging stages to ensure quality. Y+B currently offers six varieties—3 reds, 2 whites, and a rosé,—using grapes harvested in California, Argentina, and Spain.

“We are so excited to be able to offer these wines, and look forward to seeing them at many events in the future,” said Dewar.

To find out how you can feature Y+B at your next event on campus contact Catering on the Charles.

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