Each bottle carries a label with a stylised ship logo and the slogan, "Carried by sailing ship, a better deal for the planet".
The greenness of the project does not stop however with the delivery of the wines.
The ship will bring back to France an equivalent tonnage of crushed glass for recycling into wine bottles at two factories, one in Bordeaux and one in Beziers, probably resulting in cheaper bottles and a better supply given the current problems some vineyards have trying to get enough bottles.
Frederic Albert, founder of the shipping company Compagnie de Transport Maritime à la Voile (CTMV), said he would make sure that only the greenest wines would travel by sea. 'We chose the best wines in the area, but it must also be made in a sustainable way, using as many natural products as possible.”
Albert said his fleet would also be used for advertising in the ports of call. “There will be tastings on board. The Belém can hold around 100 guests, so there will be plenty of room for importers to promote their wines”, he said.
Despite the extra time involved in transporting it, the wine should still remain relatively cheap, at between € 7,00 and € 20,00 a bottle.
The shipping company’s second boat, (the Belém is the first of seven planned to be working by 2013) which cost six million euros to build and is as yet unnamed, will be launched soon. It will measure 52 metres and have 1,000 m2 of sails and a top speed of 14 knots.
Seven private investors have contributed 70 per cent of the business's start-up costs of 40 to 50 million euro, while bank loans provided the rest.
Future ports of call, with Bordeaux as the regular departure point, will include Bristol or Manchester in England, Gothenburg in Sweden, Copenhagen in Denmark, and other towns in Scandinavia.
While the French are pioneering the export of wine by sailing ship, the British have already started moving it via canal. Since October 2007 supermarket chain Tesco is ferrying wine by barge from Liverpool to Manchester along the Manchester Ship Canal. The move takes 50 trucks off the road every week and cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent, Tesco claims.
Tesco's new cargo service involves three journeys a week, delivering an estimated 600.000 litres of wine on each journey along the 64 km stretch of the canal.
The containers of wine from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina are then transported to a site 1 km away, where they are bottled for Tesco supermarkets across Britain.
source: New Zealand Herald