When I am not obsessing about organic and biodynamic wine, I relax by obsessing about sailing, often by thumbing through my favorite magazine, the British-based Yachting World. Imagine my surprise and joy, when there among the breathtaking photos of racing yachts, was an article about green transport of wine by… sailboat. CTMV, a company based in France, is reducing the carbon footprint of wine transport by returning to the past and using wind power to bring the “claret,” as Bordeaux was once referred to in London’s clubs, from France to Great Britain and Ireland.
As of now, they are doing this in a sort of ceremonial way by using an old barkentine (a three masted ship to all you lubbers), the Belem. A second vintage ship, the Kathleen and May, is also making the voyage, loaded with wine headed to London. The company seems thoroughly organized. They have impressed (as in the gang sense) over eighty Languedoc/Roussillon wine makers to fund the venture.
What really had me excited, however, was the company’s plans for state-of-the-art sailing ships. The first one is in the construction shed scheduled to be launched in the summer of 2010. She will be 156 ft. long, hold 210 tons of wine and sail at 11kts. Now that’s a maiden voyage I would book passage on! She should easily be able to go Trans-Atlantic.
Wouldn’t it be great to meet this ship at the quays like people did a hundred years ago and celebrate the cargo’s arrival? It would also be great if Frederic Albert, the man with the plan, could convince all the vineyards to put a little label (post consumer paper of course) on each bottle with an image of the boat so that we know we are drinking in a more responsible manner.