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Monday 22 April 2019

Fair wind to bring 'green' wine at a fair price

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

GREEN wine may not sound that appealing to the connoisseur, but the first batch of 20,000 bottles is to hit our shelves this summer, and the price could yet be tempting.

A French firm expects to deliver its first environmentally friendly shipment of wine to Dublin on July 22 in a 108-year-old sailing ship, before branching off to build routes to Canada, Britain and Denmark.

"By transporting the wine by ship instead of using trucks, you are talking about cutting the carbon emissions by a factor of five," Frederic Albert, President of Fair Wind Wine, the group of wine makers behind the ships, said yesterday.

"I want this to be green and cheap. The way oil prices are going, I think we will have a very competitive mode of transport and competitive prices."

Vessels

The French shipping company CTMV, founded by Mr Albert, is initially renting the schooner, the Kathleen & May, for the test voyage to Dublin, but it is in the process of building a number of vessels for the different routes. The Bordeaux-to-Dublin route is expected to be up and running in July of next year and each voyage by the Belem will carry 89,000 bottles of wine.

The business start-up costs are estimated at over €50m.

Mr Albert, a Frenchman who lived in Dublin for several years, had the idea of bringing wine heer when he found he could not buy many French brands.

It was a few years ago during a tall ships race to France that he had the idea of using sailing ships and traditional routes.

"I want to do something for the planet and I want to share my passion for wine," he said.

Wine chain O'Brien's, where Mr Albert worked for a while, is one of the distributors that has signed up for the green wine.

Despite Mr Albert's claims, industry insiders believe the cost of importing the wine -- which will carry an eco-friendly label -- will add €1 to the price of a bottle. It remains to be seen how much of that cost will be passed on to the consumer.

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