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Champagne De Sloovere-Pienne removes metal neck sleeve to reduce carbon footprint

Champagne De Sloovere-Pienne has become the first producer in the region to remove the metal neck sleeves from its bottles.

The move is designed to substantially reduce the female-owned Champagne house’s carbon footprint.

Champagne bottles have traditionally been wrapped in a coiffe, which covers the cork, the wire cage and most of the neck. This coiffe is typically made of aluminium foil, although some Champagne houses still use tinfoil in their packaging.

Emeline De Sloovere, the 33-year-old winemaker at Champagne De Sloovere-Pienne, decided to remove the coiffe in favour of a simple strip of paper.

She already focuses on sustainability in the vineyard and the winery, so she wanted to extend that approach to the packaging.

Champagne De Sloovere-Pienne

The new-look bottle. Credit: Champagne De Sloovere-Pienne.

‘Traceability is essential, so it seemed normal to me to also have the least possible impact during the final process: the use of bottles lightened, simple paper and ink, and the choice of a strip of paper instead of a cap in order to perfect this eco-responsible and low-carbon approach,’ said De Sloovere.

The Comité Champagne and French customs have approved the new neck sleeves, and De Sloovere hopes to inspire fellow producers to follow suit.

“If our approach can encourage other houses to move towards bands instead of headdresses, indeed that would be a source of pride for us, that of having opened the way to a new era of packaging in Champagne,’ she added.

This innovation is part of a wider trend that has seen various winemakers and retailers remove capsules from still wine in a bid to cut down on unnecessary packaging.

Waitrose ditched the plastic and foil sleeves on its Loved & Found range earlier this year. The sleeves are used purely for aesthetic reasons, and they are no longer necessary from a quality standpoint in the modern era.

‘There is no quality change,’ said De Sloovere. ‘This in no way devalues ​​the effectiveness of the muzzle, in the same way that the caps do not improve its effectiveness.’

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