When Champagne Telmont announced it was experimenting with reducing the weight of its 35-gram glass bottles earlier this month, it presented a platform to the Champagne House to show its broader commitment to the environment.
“Reducing our carbon footprint is an obsession for us,” said Ludovic du Plessis, Chairman and CEO of Champagne Telmont in an interview with Forbes. Plessis pointed out that Champagne Telmont’s sustainable efforts predate this month’s announcement, and even predate the vineyard’s conversion to organic farming in 2017.
“Our goal is to operate on behalf of Mother Nature. The wine will be good if the land is true,” Plessis said. He further explained that as part of the brand’s efforts to drive and encourage positive change in the Champagne region in France, Champagne Telmont prioritizes five main objectives: “Preserving the terroir and biodiversity; generalizing eco-design; the transition to 100% renewable electricity and the promotion of the use of “green” energy sources “; the redesign of the supply chain, upstream and downstream, to limit greenhouse gas emissions; intensify efforts in terms of transparency. Regarding the adjustment of the weight of the bottle, Plessis says that the brand saw it as an opportunity to push the boundaries.
The standard champagne bottle on the market today weighs 835 grams; it was last lightened in the late 90s, Plessis quotes. To clarify, using less glass allows for less carbon dioxide in the melting and manufacturing process, less fuel for transportation, and additional energy savings. Given that the glass used for Telmont Champagne bottles currently contributes 20% of their carbon emissions, this 35 gram increase could significantly reduce their footprint.
Although still in a trial period, Plessis shared, “We hope our actions will inspire other Champagne houses and that together we will achieve our goal.”
The proposed bottle weight of 800 grams is currently being tested over a six-month phase which will allow Champagne Telmont, in partnership with French glassmaker Verallia, to understand how weight affects certain nuances of the traditional Champagne method, and how certain adjustments during the winemaking process may be necessary to maintain product quality. For example, lightening the bottle while maintaining the design and dimensions of the current 835-gram bottle as well as mastering an even distribution of the glass during production, shares Plessis.
Another of the most important tests is the internal pressure, which the bottles must withstand about six kilograms (about 13 pounds) per square centimeter of pressure, to ensure stability during the ‘foam’ champagne-making phase, (translates to “capturing the sparkle,” when champagne produces its characteristic bubbles during secondary fermentation), Plessis explained. Once sustainability and quality are confirmed, Telmont will release the first 800 gram bottles of Telmont Reserve Brut (minimum three years old) from 2025.
In the meantime, Plessis and Champagne Telmont continue to achieve their five brand goals, moving to 100% renewable energy, promoting green energy, encouraging biodiversity in their vineyards, exploring biodynamic techniques and banning air freight transport. and eliminating all use of outer packaging and gift boxes, a first in Champagne.
“Our goal is to reduce our environmental footprint at every stage, from production to distribution,” concludes Plessis. “Our journey will be long and difficult, but we walk this path not only with passion and humility, but also with great determination and sincerity. We will always share our progress, not to be singled out as an example but to encourage everyone to respect mother nature, to whom we owe so much.