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J Environ Manage. 2012 May 15;98:73-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.12.009. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Environmental analysis of Ribeiro wine from a timeline perspective: harvest year matters when reporting environmental impacts.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


A series of Galician (NW Spain) wines, such as Rías Baixas and Ribeiro have acquired international renown in the past few years. In this particular study, viticulture, vinification and bottling and packaging in a winery of the Ribeiro appellation were studied from a life cycle assessment perspective, with the main objective of identifying the largest environmental impacts for four different years of production (2007-2010). The selected functional unit was a 750 mL bottle of Ribeiro white wine, packaged for distribution. Inventory data was gathered mainly through direct communication using questionnaires. Results showed considerable annual variability in environmental performance, stressing the importance of including timeline analysis in the wine sector. Therefore, environmental scaling was proposed for the assessed wine based on the individual environmental impacts for each harvest year. Furthermore, the main hot spots identified were compost and pesticide production and emissions, in the agricultural phase and bottle production and electricity consumption, in the subsequent stages of wine production, in most of the selected impact categories. Suggested improvement opportunities included shifts in the compost transportation policy, recovery of natural resources for vineyard infrastructure, the introduction of new packaging formats in the bottling process and the use of pesticides with lower toxicity potential.

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