28th March, 2017 by Rupert Millar
UK wine merchant Laithwaite’s has launched a new campaign dubbed ‘Save Our Wines’ after research shows UK households throw the equivalent of 624 million bottles a year down the drain.
According to an online study conducted by Laithwaite’s, the average British household throws away around two glasses of wine a week on average – which it says is the equivalent of 3.1m glasses nationally a year; the equivalent of 17.3 bottles per household, 624m bottles nationally which is enough to fill 333 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The main reason for this, the merchant found, was that many consumers are still unsure how long a wine can last for once opened.
Following answers given by respondents, 20% said they thought they had to pour the remains of any bottle of wine away after just half a day while 31% thought one to five hours was the longest amount of time Champagne and other good quality sparkling wine could be left open.
After that, 42% said they poured wine down the sink because they hadn’t finished their glass, 40% left it in the fridge too long, 30% hadn’t closed the wine in some way and 24% had opened more than they wanted to drink.
Londoners were the biggest consumers of wine at an average of 2.1 bottles per week but they were also the most wasteful, with 2% guessing they probably threw away the equivalent of two bottles a week, while at a social event an average of five glasses of wine might be thrown away at the end of an evening.
David Thatcher, CEO of Laithwaite’s Wine, said: “Many of us open wine during the week and are unsure if it’s still good to drink a day or two later and instead pour it away. All this adds up to a sad end for a great deal of perfectly enjoyable wine.
“One tip is to spend a little bit more on a better quality red, white or sparkling wine. It will last longer and can be savoured over several days, which will help you get more from your bottles.”
Laithwaite’s has also released a guide to how long most wine can be kept once opened – in the right conditions – as well as five ‘tips’ to help consumers avoid unnecessary waste. They are:
- Don’t throw away wine too early: Sparkling wines (stored with a wine stopper in the fridge), reds (stored in a cool dark place with a cork), rosé or white (both stored in the fridge with a cork) can all be kept for 3-5 days. It’s also perfectly OK to store opened red wine in the fridge.
- Focus on quality: Nearly two in three (63%) said they’d be more likely to finish a bottle of wine if they’d paid more for it and better quality wine, such as a top-end Burgundy, will last longer too
- Consider a fortified wine: These are wines made to last. An open of bottle of Sherry for example, with the cap closed or cork in, will keep for weeks.
- Keep the bottle upright: Storing the wine upright minimises the surface area exposed to Oxygen, which can spoil the wine faster
- Don’t open everything at once: If you are hosting a party don’t uncork multiple bottles of wines of at once, wait and see what wines your guests actually want to drink to avoid lots of half-consumed bottles when clearing up