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Lightweight bottles against climate change. Extra charge for over-weight to come

Have you tried lifting a box of 12 bottles of champagne? It’s heavy, I can tell you. Champagne bottles are heavy, but out of necessity. Too thin glass would not withstand the pressure in the bottle. But for still wines, how much need a bottle weigh?

420 grams, says Systembolaget, the Swedish state monopoly for alcohol retail. Starting in two years’ time Systembolaget will charge their suppliers a fee for such bottles that weigh more. “Going over to lightweight bottles are an effective way to reduce climate change,” says Systembolaget in a press release.

In the cellar at Champagnes Philipponnat

In the cellar at Champagnes Philipponnat, copyright BKWine Photography

Their inspiration for this heavy bottle fee is partly from the Canadian monopoly LCBO of Ontario.

I did a little weight check of the bottles we drank recently. No bottle passed the 420-gram limit. Closest was a Spanish wine with 452 grams, otherwise the Bordeaux, Languedoc and Rhône wines we’ve had during the last couple of weeks were all between 530 and 650 grams. No monster bottle was among these but we have experienced bottles of prestige cuvées as heavy as a champagne bottle.  And those weigh between 835 and 900 gram. A heavy bottle means quality, many consumers tend to think. So it will probably be some time before all the bottles weigh 420 grams or less. But cheap volume wines should already be there. On the other hand, in Sweden almost all volume wines are sold in bag-in-box.

If the fee will be important for the wine importers selling to Systembolaget or not, remains to be seen. As an example, if a bottle weighs 500 grams the fee will be 0.40 SEK (approx. 0.04 euro) per bottle, if it weighs 800 grams, the fee will be 1.90 SEK (approx. 0.20 euro). And the fee applies, of course, only to still wines.

This post is also available in: Swedish

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