Grain de Sail, the first commercial exporter of wine by sail freight, shows that sail ship transport isn’t always a green gimmick, but can offer a viable—and scalable—alternative to conventional cargo, reports Winemag.
Golden age of sail
The schooner Apollonia has become a part of business-as-usual for Nika Carlson, owner of Greenpoint Cidery, who makes farmhouse-style cider at her Hudson, New York facility. The bottles are loaded aboard the sailboat—about two weeks later, they arrive at the dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where locals can pick up a “boat box.”
Not two hours or two days. Two weeks, pending the unpredictable pace of the wind and the river tides. That’s just fine with Carlson. “The way I make cider is slow; low intervention,” she explains. “This fits in with my business.” After all, she says, “people have been moving alcoholic beverages on the river for hundreds of years.”
From Brooklyn to Burgundy, a new “golden age of sail” has begun, shipping experts say: Specifically, sailing ships are transporting wine and other goods, whether down the Hudson River or on a trans-Atlantic journey. While it seems like a romantic step back in time, it’s more than just a throwback. Amid supply-chain woes and ever-expanding carbon footprints, some envision sail-freight as the future—a cleaner, greener way to ship cargo.
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