French Wine Under Sail Add/Read Comments
Snooth Wine Search:
Later this month 60,000 bottles of wine from the Languedoc will be shipped to Ireland in a 19th century barque, the Belem. You can't get more traditional than that! But the aim is a serious one - to save carbon emissions.
The three masted barque was the last French merchant sailing vessel to be built and was launched in 1896. The voyage from Bordeaux to to Dublin will take around 4 days not including the time taken to transport the wine along the Canal du Midi and Canal du Garonne.
Frederic Albert, founder of the shipping company Compagnie de Transport Maritime à la Voile (CTMV), said: 'My idea was to do something for the planet and something for the wines of Languedoc. One of my grandfathers was a wine-maker and one was a sailor.'
With French wine exports booming following a number of difficult years, Albert said some 250 producers in Languedoc alone were keen to use his ships.
The 170ft Belem, which was first used to transport chocolate from South America and is named after a Brazilian port, is the first of seven planned to be working by 2013. Seven private investors have contributed 70 per cent of the business's start-up costs of £40m. Bank loans have provided the rest.
'There is a lot of interest in green investments in France,' said Albert. Ships will return to France with an equivalent tonnage of crushed glass for recycling into wine bottles at factories in Bordeaux and Béziers. Despite the time involved in transporting it, the wine should also remain relatively cheap, at between €7 and €20 a bottle.
Albert said he would make sure that only the greenest wines would travel by sea. 'We chose the best wine in the area, but it must also be made in a sustainable way, using as many natural products as possible,' he said, adding that delivery times to Ireland and Britain had been calculated using historic charts. 'We had someone who studied a century of weather conditions to work them out,' he said."