How green are your bottles? I'm not talking about colour, but about greenness in an essential save-the-planet sense.

The disturbing fact is that bottles - principally their production and transport - account for a far larger proportion of wine's carbon footprint than anything else in the grape-to-glass process.

There have been lone voices crying in the wilderness for years, but finally this issue is attracting serious attention, and maybe you've noticed that an increasing number of the bottles you buy are easier to carry and to pour. But most are still too heavy.

Ham & High: Wines from the vineyards of Burgundy grower and negociant Albert Bichot vineyards go into 450 g bottlesWines from the vineyards of Burgundy grower and negociant Albert Bichot vineyards go into 450 g bottles (Image: Domaines Albert Bichot, copyright Flore Deronzier.)

Why? One reason is a very misguided view that consumers believe the weightier the bottle is the finer the wine within it will be. That, argues one of the most persuasive of light-bottle campaigners, Jancis Robinson, "is a purely spurious connection dreamed up by marketeers".

While the average weight of a wine bottle now is around 550g, some can hit the scales at double that. The resulting environmental impact, Robinson continues, is the wine industry's "Achilles heel".

Six months ago, a number of important international wine retailers - including, in the UK, Laithwaites, Waitrose and The Wine Society - signed up to an international accord agreeing that 80 per cent of their bottles will weigh less than 420g by the end of 2026, and more have joined them. If this initiative succeeds, it's estimated that these retailers’ wine-related carbon emissions will fall by 25%.

The naysayers raise problems: that lighter bottles are too fragile, meaning more carbon used in increased packaging needed for safe transit; that there's huge expense involved in modifying bottling lines to suit them; that glass manufacturers like their customers to buy heavy bottles; that lightweight bottles look cheap and nasty.

But all these are answered by the low-weight protagonists: well-designed lighter bottles don't break easily; bottling lines need minimal alteration to cope with the necessary small change in bottle shape; glass manufacturers simply want to continue selling bottles, not see their market reduced by more use of alternative containers; the look of a wine bottle is all about its design, not its weight - and consumers worry far more about price and contents than looks.

Even the weight of sparkling wine bottles, needing extra strength because of the pressure inside, can be - and is being - reduced, with 800g a practical alternative to the usual 900-plus.Ham & High: Sparkling bottles like this fine-bubbled elegant and clear Jansz Vintage Rosé have to be heavier to contain the pressure insideSparkling bottles like this fine-bubbled elegant and clear Jansz Vintage Rosé have to be heavier to contain the pressure inside (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

Major producers, among them Albert Bichot in Burgundy, the Cru Bordeaux grouping and France's Terra Vitis growers, are already leading the way with lighter bottles, and there's increasing information for wine buyers - for example, tasting notes on usually include bottle weight.

"Our attachment to glass bottles is funny in a way," Robinson acknowledges. They're 'breakable, impractically shaped containers", though they remain the best for long-term wine storage. And asked to specify which bottle is best, her answer is simple: "Just a lighter one."Ham & High: Tedeschi Soave weights in at 365 gTedeschi Soave weights in at 365 g (Image: Courtesy of the producer)

So, to support what I've just written, it's been off to the kitchen scales with the emptied bottles lined up for potential recommendation. Winner in the lightest challenge is Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave Classico (£15.75, at a mere 365g.

Yet it looks smart and the wine is delicious: layers of flavour, freshness and a touch of stony minerality. Some 30 grams more, Treixadura in the Waitrose Loved & Found range (£9) is a high-street rarity, aromatic with hints of lemon and herbs - unusual and enjoyable.Ham & High: Eden Valley Riesling has a new world flourishEden Valley Riesling has a new world flourish (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

Those that follow all exceed the 420 grams aim by some margin, unfortunately - I hope their producers will see the light for future vintages.

New world flourish plus German classicism meet in Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling (from £16.50, and other independents - see, with a tempting twist of lime in its complex yet approachable flavours.Ham & High: This Cremant D'Alsace is £14 from WaitroseThis Cremant D'Alsace is £14 from Waitrose (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

For a special celebration Jansz Vintage Rosé 2017 (£26,, is a fine-bubbled delight, elegant and a clear step up from the already-good non-vintage version. If budgets are tighter, Cave de Turckheim Crémant d'Alsace (£14, Waitrose) abounds with sparkling scents and flavours of baked apple.

And a final warming red recommendation, Yalumba Galway Vintage Shiraz (£13 to March 19 then £17, Waitrose) has the Barossa's power and richness tucked into a velvet glove.