Can wine turn to be a negative carbon emission industry?
Updated: Feb 17
One of the industries that is significantly impacted year after year by climate change is the wine industry. This impact derives from different sources comprising vine climate adaptation, impact of temperature in the wine attributes (e.g., alcohol, tannins, acid content), the type and quantity of irrigation needed, or the increased incidence of wildfires.
Looking into the vinification process during winemaking, one of the main products produced during fermentation is carbon dioxide.
Due to the great amount of CO2 produced during fermentation, the workers inside the wineries face several constraints, such as stings in the eye and burns in the throats, being even registered, tragically, several deaths due to asphyxiation.
Although vinification is not the largest CO2 producer, it provides the opportunity for relatively easy carbon sequestration and possible re-use in the same sector, making wine a negative carbon emission industry!
Several techniques are being studied for this efficient carbon capture, such as direct air capture, which comprises the capture of all winery emitted air, CO2 removal, and release of the ‘clean’ air back to the atmosphere.
The sequestered CO2 can have different outcomes: it can be transformed into other carbon-based materials (biofuel), sent underground to remineralize, or even be reused back to the wine industry itself, as injected ingredient to produce carbonated wines, or as substitution of dry ice or other pressurized gas for inertization of wine tanks.
This way it would be possible to reduce the carbon footprint of wineries by sequestering carbon dioxide released during fermentations using different technologies still under development (and some already at use). This reducition would, not only help the winery sector, by achieving zero (or negative) carbon emissions, but also the health of all the people who work directly in this sector.
It looks like it is a win-win situation!
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