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Frey Vineyards

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Nicole Paisley Martensen
 
March 15, 2019 | Sustainability | Nicole Paisley Martensen

Sustainable Packaging

Close-up of new Frey boxes using recycled cardboard.

Since our beginning in 1980, we’ve been innovators in the organic winemaking field. Innovation involves asking questions: How can we develop the best vineyard management practices to accomplish a holistic farming system? How can we increase carbon-sequestration in our soil?  How can we explore new techniques on the bottling line to preserve our wines’ delicate flavors?  The wines we produce have always been a direct reflection of our ecological goals and our stewardship ideals. 

Behind-the-scenes at the winery is our commitment to environmental protection through our packaging.  Over the years we’ve taken strides to seek out environmentally friendly packaging options and like-minded vendors to work with.  We’ve experimented with different types of closures, recycled label papers, and shipping boxes.  In the same way our customers make a difference by supporting organic agriculture, we can make a difference with sustainable packaging choices.

Ganau Corks
For the last several years we have been sourcing our corks from Ganau, a company based in Sardinia, Italy.  Ganau has been sustainably harvesting cork from Mediterranean forests since 1941.  We purchase Ganau’s agglomerated corks, which are formed from micro-granulated bits of cork compressed into a solid closure.  Molded corks are a resourceful use of cork scraps and help maintain the cork industry as zero waste.  Ganau uses a proprietary steam-cleaning process to remove TCA, a compound that can impart musty flavors in wine, as an alternative to the conventional chlorine-heavy method.  The agglomerated corks work well for us because they create a tight seal on the bottle that prevents any oxygen infiltration, which is essential to protecting our non-sulfited wines.  Oxygen-taint is down significantly since incorporating Ganau into our bottling line, and we are so happy with the results.

Envi 100 Wine Labels from Monadnock paper mill
With the redesign of our Biodynamic portfolio in 2013 we wanted to source a recycled label paper that would truly represent the ecological principles of the wine inside the bottle.  After much research and development (think: mock-up wine bottles plunged into ice water baths to test for durability, and shipped to Frey friends across the country to test for scratches) we were thrilled to discover Monadnock mill in New Hampshire.  Founded in 1819, Monadnock is the oldest continuously operating paper mill in the United States.  Monadnock developed Envi Performance Label stock to be 100% PCW recycled, Forest Stewardship Council Certified, and processed chlorine-free.  The paper has all the elements we were looking for and it prints beautifully. 

Monadnock produces up to 50% of its electricity requirement with onsite hydropower, with the other half derived from purchased wind-power, and all their products are manufactured carbon neutral.  Their dedication to environmentally responsible ingenuity and impact-reduction goals has created a delightful business relationship.

Kraft case boxes and recycled pulp liners
Last fall we debuted our kraft recycled case boxes imprinted with our signature Frey logo.  Previously we had been using white cardboard boxes to ship wine to our distributors.  The change came about when we started researching the differences between recycled (brown) cardboard and virgin (white) cardboard.  Compared to 100% recycled cardboard, each ton of virgin cardboard produced uses 24 trees, 33% more energy, 49% more wastewater, and releases 37% more greenhouse gases in the process.  The choice was simple once we realized how we could reduce our footprint in this area. 

Our direct-to-consumer shipping materials are also eco-friendly.  To cushion our bottles during shipping, we use molded pulp liners that are made from 100% recycled materials in a chemical-free pulping process that uses open-air drying.  The pulp liners are also BPI-certified compostable, which is the best option to stay out of the waste stream, and can be composted at your local green waste site or in your backyard compost pile.  The winery brochures that we include in each order are printed at Greenerprinter on 100% recycled uncoated paper with vegetable-based inks.

We are grateful to be surrounded by such natural beauty that continues to remind us of our responsibility as caretakers of the land around us.  By making ecologically conscious choices at every level of our business, we hope to inform and engage our customers, our suppliers, and our community in a deeper conversation about how we can work together in an increasingly sustainable way.

A stack of Frey biodynamic wine boxes made of recycled cardboard.

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