A French sailing boat packed with organic and biodynamic wine has arrived on British shores, as part of an initiative to make exports more environmentally friendly.
This week the Grayhound, a 108-foot lugger sailing boat, arrived in Plymouth with a five-tonne cargo of French organic and biodynamic wines.
The ship, which is part of TransOceanic Wind Transport (TOWT), transports organic and biodynamic wines from France to England. It will return across the English Channel with Cornish ales.
TOWT has been operating for five years and believes exporting by sailing boat is economically viable and does not damage the wine.
TOWT’s ships are carbon dioxide-free, in contrast to large container ships that burn fuel.
The founder of TOWT, Guillaume Le Grand, told Decanter.com that it is important for the wines to be stored carefully.
‘We’ve never broken a bottle in five years and we make sure every detail is looked after. They can be strapped with plywood so they don’t move.
‘In terms of temperature, the wines are stored in the cargo hold, mostly under the waterline where the temperature is approximately that of the sea, which is cool enough for the wines.’
Le Grand, who has a degree in sustainable development, energy and the environment, said that some people claim transporting wines by sail can alter their taste.
‘Traders noted the long-transported wines had a different taste. They were more rounded.’
He added, ‘The energy of “travelling wines” is also noticeable, which is important to those who believe in biodynamics.’
The produce, transported by ships working with TOWT, is branded with the ‘Transporté à la voile’ sticker that allows purchasers to track the wines on their journey via a unique code.