Smith Haut Lafitte to export wines by sail-powered ship

  • Monday 5 July 2010

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is to begin exporting wines by sailing ship.

The 106 year-old British ketch Bessie Ellen will set sail from Bordeaux for Montreal on July 21, laden with 20,000 bottles of Smith Haut Lafitte.

The ship will also carry bottles from Château de Cayx (the Cahors domain owned by the Danish royal family) and Borie de Maurel (Languedoc).

The move was introduced in an effort to cut the chateau's carbon footprint.

'It is a marriage of tradition and modernity,' owner Daniel Cathiard told decanter.com.

'We want to cut energy consumption wherever possible. Our clients appreciate our respect for the environment, present across our wine-making activities.'

Cathiard said he hoped the initial Canada-bound run would become a regular practice.

The 25-day sail-powered crossing will cost around 20% more the same journey in a standard container ship.

The shippers, Dublin-based, French-run CTMV, claim the journey will probably improve the wines.

'We conducted a blind-test experiment with independent oenologists who found that long journeys by sailing ships also improved wines, some of them giving an impression of having aged a year in the process,' CTMV CEO Frédéric Albert told decanter.com.

'We plan to open a regular sail route between Montreal and Bordeaux, and Bordeaux-Plymouth, next March,' added Albert.

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