In 2022, Laithwaites sees itself doubling down on sustainability, with the aim of halving its carbon footprint by 2030. It has committed to increase the number of UK-bottled wines in its range to help cut down on CO2 emissions from shipping glass bottles – shipping in bulk in large ‘bags’ drastically reduces the weight of the same volume of wine.
It also allows the process to be overseen directly by Laithwaites; a recent audit commissioned from EcoAct – a specialist company advising on sustainability showed that several factors, mostly outside Laithwaites’ direct control, contributed to 95% of the emissions footprint of a bottle of wine. There are also, no doubt, savings to be made by importing in bulk.
Other examples of Laithwaites’ efforts to improve its sustainability credentials include the release of the second wine in its ‘W/O’ range, an organic Lucido (better known as Catarratto) from Sicily. Bottled in ‘wild’ (100% recycled) glass and corked without a plastic capsule, it features a fully biodegradable label made using a single colour printing process on environmentally friendly pulp. Information on the wine is accessed via a QR code.
The wine merchant has also recently listed its first wine packaged in paper, the Redbrook Estate Bacchus. Made from 84% recycled paper with a recyclable plastic pouch, it’s a bit like a mini bag-in-box and, claims Laithwaites, has a carbon footprint six times lower than glass.
The buying team has sourced new wines from across the world for 2022, making the most of the ability to travel much more widely than they had been able to in 2020 and 2021. Notable in the range for 2022 are a number of lighter red wines, including the first examples made from Dornfelder, Páis and Xinomavro.
One of the reasons for introducing these new varieties is to cater for what Liz Smith, wine director at Laithwaites, identifies as a trend towards lighter styles of reds: ‘Beaujolais in particular has been a big success story of the past few years. But, partly in response to increased prices, we’re now seeing this shift towards other grapes and regions.’
Laithwaites wines are predominantly sold online and via wine clubs, but the retailer also has a smattering of stores around the south of the UK, including in London, Beaconsfield, Gloucester, Reading, Banbury and Windsor.