What happens when you put Clif Bar’s sensibilities into wine? You get The Climber from Clif Family Winery, which they refer to as “All Terrain Wine Transport.” More than an attention getting bit of trivia to share at parties, The Climber is being touted as the more ecological option to bringing glass bottle wine while hiking, climbing, camping, or just hanging out with friends in your backyard.
On the surface, this is a clever repackaging of the wine in a box phenomenon of decades past, to the active set that Clif Bar draws. But there is an interesting addition: Upon opening, the wine is resealable and will stay fresh for one month after opening. Would this be true in extreme heat while camping I wonder?
The energy and resource savings as compared to bottle wine are impressive: 80% lower carbon footprint and 90% less waste & landfill vs. two bottles.
But there’s a few things that don’t add up in my mind:
Do rock climbers and campers take glass bottle wine with them now? If not, will this actually add resource use and carbon due to more people buying wine that wouldn’t otherwise?
Comparing apples to apples, nowhere on the site does it say The Climber packaging is recyclable. The packaging implies it may be with a recycling symbol, however that doesn’t say anything about whether local recyclers will accept the packaging. Glass is infinitely recyclable and will maintain usable integrity (aka won’t break), as long as the stream isn’t contaminated with window glass.
The reduced amount of packaging and associated footprint with shipping it are admirable, but if the net results are increased landfill as compared to glass, that’s an unintended consequence Clif Family Winery should consider.
One possible solution to consider is extending their existing partnership with TerraCycle, extending beyond upcycling their unrecyclable energy bar packaging. The Climber could perhaps be part of or do something similar to the Method Refill Brigade, which looks to be comparable packaging.
Add to it that Clif Family Winery is a member of 1% For The Planet, and The Climber could prove to be as truly impactful as it claims to be.
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.