Designing a lighter Champagne bottle

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

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8 Responses to “Designing a lighter Champagne bottle”

  1. Twitter Comment

    Designing a lighter Champagne bottle [link to post] /via @drvino Every bit helps right? ^JP

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. I’m skeptical of the 2400 more bottles/truckload figure. If I understand your reasoning, you can fit 2400 more bottles into a truck before it reaches some maximum load weight limit. This only holds true for a truck that is less than totally full.

    If the truck is volumetrically full of wine cases yet under the weight maximum, lowering the mass of the bottle while keeping the volume of a case of bottles the same will not allow you to fit any more bottles onto a truck.

    I’m glad to see progress towards a lighter bottle for all the reasons noted in the article

  3. Twitter Comment

    Now if the big boys would just start farming sustainably…. RT @drvino: Designing a lighter Champagne bottle [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. Twitter Comment

    RT @drvino Designing a lighter Champagne bottle [link to post] < -- cool idea - curious too see how widely adopted it becomes – Posted using Chat Catcher

  5. Is the 2400 bottles figure based on weight or space? It seems very unlikely that the bottle size will allow for another 200 cases or 3-4 pallets.

  6. I just read this in the Times today as well. Did you see their diagram of the bottle contours? It’s amazing how such tiny changes could have such large affects!

  7. If that’s all for the benefit of the environment then by all means let’s help in the wide adoption of such change.

  8. Tyrus, the bottle may help the environment in a small way, but unfortunately Champagne has an appalling environmental record in terms of its use of chemicals, and its past use of Parisien trash to fertilize the fields (a lot of which still hasn’t been cleaned up). If you really want to help the environment choose an organic champagne of which there are a number of great ones.


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