French send wine by sailboat
5:00AM Monday February 25, 2008
By Peter Allen
French vineyard owners are returning to a slower pace of life by starting to export their wine by sailing boat - a method last used in the 1800s - to reduce their carbon footprint.
This month 60,000 bottles from Languedoc will be shipped to Ireland in a 19th-century barque, saving 22,680kg of carbon.
Further voyages to Bristol and Manchester in England and even to Canada are planned soon afterwards.
The three-mast barque Belem, which was launched in 1896, the last French merchant sailing vessel to be built, will sail into Dublin after a voyage from Bordeaux that should last about four days.
The wines will be delivered to Bordeaux by barge using the Canal du Midi and Canal du Garonne, which run across southern France from Sete in the east, via Beziers in Languedoc.
Each bottle will be labelled: "Carried by sailing ship, a better deal for the planet."
Although the whole process will end up taking up to a week longer than a flight, it is estimated it will save 138g of carbon a bottle.
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Shepherd Neame, England's oldest brewery, owns a Thames Barge "Greta" which is used for delivering beer from its base in the ancient port of Faversham, to pubs across the Thames estuary. This trade started in 1947 but lapsed in the 60's until it was revived five years ago. Its just a small-scale operation of course by comparison with the above.
Greta was built in 1892 and has the distinction of being one of the surviving 'small ships' used in the evacuation of Dunkirk during WWII.
Last edited by AndrewB; 02-29-2008 at 08:24 PM.
Interesting reply. I've just found it and appreciate the info and the photo you included. Nice to see more commerical sailing operations.