Have you ever lifted a bottle of champagne and thought, “Wow, that’s heavy!” Well, the bottles are heavy partly with good reason: to contain all the sparkly goodness, which can be six times the atmospheric pressure. (And, of course, there’s a little bling factor to the bulk.) Apparently, before sufficiently strong bottles were developed, cellar staff in Champagne would enter the caves with masks akin to a hockey goalie’s to protect against exploding bottles.
Thus physics is a main challenge of reducing the bulk the Champagne bottle. A detailed story in today’s NYT Business section traces the development of a new, lighter bottle, slimmed down to 835g from 900g. The bottle has taken years to design and the Champagne Trade Council (CIVC) is encouraging its members to use it starting with this harvest, all in the name of reducing the wine’s greenhouse gas emissions. The lighter bottle means 2,400 more bottles can be fit in the same sized truck, thus reducing the amount of trips needed. That also saves producers costs, although industry figures in the story say that the bottle is not cheaper–unless it is widely adapted, which would drive down costs.
“Champagne Producers Aim for ‘Greener’ Bottle” (with slideshow)
cropped photo attributed to Stéphane Lavoué for the International Herald Tribune