London, Sep 2 (ANI): The robust Champagne bottle, which was synonymous with opulence and celebration, is undergoing a slim makeover in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
Designed by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pirignon in the 17th century to contain the "devil's wine", the bottle, which was created in an attempt to prevent secondary fermentation and "explosions", is set to lose its stocky shoulders and in the process shed weight, making it more environmentally friendly.
Currently, the transportation of billions of gallons of bubbly around the world creates a carbon footprint of some 200,000 metric tonnes - the equivalent to the yearly emission of some 100,000 cars.
The hefty bottle is by far the biggest offender in champagne's production and shipping process.
"It's far too big and we had to do something about it," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wine (CIVC), as saying.
"This means a bottle looking very similar to the one which was created in the 1600s, but one which is a lot lighter and a lot more environmentally friendly," he added.
While the bottle changes are subtle, they are the result of months of work by glassmakers who needed to make sure the vessel could withstand the immense pressure of the bubbles.
It also needed to be able to survive the four-year production process from the factory floor to the cellars and then to the dining table.
"The bottle is slightly taller and slimmer, with neat shoulders, but you would have to look very hard to see this, and it retains its classic shape", said Jean Gascon, a grape grower from Rheims, capital of the champagne region.
The new bottle weighs 835 grams (29.5 ounces) instead of 900 grams (31.7 ounces), which means savings on the amount of transport needed to move it.
The committee says the change will cut carbon dioxide output by 8,000 metric tons (8,818 short tons) a year, which it likens to the annual emissions of 4,000 cars.
Following a 2002 environmental impact assessment, France's champagne industry has set a target of cutting its carbon footprint by 25 per cent by 2020, and 75 per cent by 2050.
Big names including Moet and Chandon and Veuve Cliquot have already switched to the new bottles, although they are currently still under fermentation.
Other champagne producers are still deciding whether to follow the C.I.V.C.'s advice to switch but it expects most will follow by April next year. (ANI)