30 Years ago we made our way to France. We were looking for wineries that gave as much importance to craft and organic farming as we did. Because good wine is created in our eyes with nature, not against nature. Luckily we found what we were looking for, so on our trip home we had a small selection of French wine in our luggage. So it happened that in 1988 we founded a small wine trade called « VivoLoVin » in Bremen.
Three decades later, the small wine trade has become a versatile wine importer and wholesale specialist for organic wines, and the small assortment has become one with 500 wines from all over Europe.
VivoLoVin, the Quinta do Romeu winery (since 1874 in the Douro Valley) and Fairtransport, a company that transports goods across the oceans with zero-emission sailing ships, have joined forces for the project « Westerlies – sailed Wein ».
Fairtransport is committed to emission-free transport. Andreas Lackner, one of the three founders, describes their idea as follows: « For 5,000 years merchandise was transported by sailing ships and then in the 19th century the engine was invented and thwarted the whole concept of sailing ship traffic. We wanted to use the environmentally friendly effect of transporting goods only with wind power without oil-powered engines. All we had to do was find a way to make it profitable again. »
Most of the freights are organic or naturally produced, traditionally produced and / or fairly produced – such as olive oil, wine and rum from small craft businesses. Emission-free transport makes sense and is consistent. In addition, Fairtransport aims to raise awareness of sustainable goods traffic, especially in the modern shipping industry.
We have been working closely together with João Menéres, the winemaker of Quinta do Romeu, since 2015.
We already implemented the « sailed Wine” project in 2017.
The idea of Fair Transport is supported by Vivolovin and the Quinta do Romeu. Why? VivoLoVin stands for: sustainable and ecologically produced wines, fair and partnership-based trade relations with winemakers. Quinta do Romeu, in turn, operates a certified organic farm. The Menéres family has been working organic since 1997, has been fully certified since 2000 and and since 2012 in biodynamic farming. In addition to the deliberate renunciation of ‘chemical aids’ João Menéres follows a holistic, social and fair idea in dealing with inside and outside the company.
With our project « Westerlies – sailed Wine » we transport again on an old route wine emission-free to Bremen. Quinta Do Romeu and VivoLoVin want to set an example for sustainable goods Trading. A return to old transport routes and the fact that the Hanseatic city of Bremen has been a traditional wine capital for many centuries.
How did this idea of working with Fairtransport come together? „I got to Fairtransport making friends, which is the best way to get anywhere.First I met Anton Mann (wine importer and mentor of the project Port O’Bristol) through a winemaker and good friend who was my table neighbor at a natural wine tasting in Porto.
Anton, his wife Lela and I became good friends in the meanwhile. They have a very free spirit and are very active members of the Sail Cargo Alliance. Their moto is “MADE BY REBELS, SHIPPED BY PIRATES, DRUNK BY HEROES”, although we all know Fairtransport are the exact opposite of pirates I guess many “land people” imagines them having a kind of “piratyish” atmosphere on the sea and like to see themselves as the heroes in the end.
Anton was the first one who asked me to sail my products and shortly after I was loading my first cargo of olive oil and wine to the Nordlys to go to Bristol.
The Nordlys and Tres Hombres (sister boat of Nordlys that sails across the Atlantic) are coming to Porto every year and that’s how I met first Captain Andreas Lackner and afterwards Captain Lammert Osinga, from the Nordlys. I started to hang out with Lammert and his crew when she was moored in Porto and a friendship has started from there. Lammert also came and stayed with us at Quinta do Romeu, experiencing in loco the flavors, human warmth and nature with his six senses.
I got contagious with the sailing spirit and, realizing how it is a real change, created the Westerlies to bring to the bottle wines that reflect this natural, wild and energetic character of the sea. We never sold a single bottle of Westerlies that didn’t go aboard a sailing boat.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I had to talk about this with VivoLoVin and Kai Schamar, who I knew to be a sailor himself, a hunter of characterful wines and very conscious of the impact of human behavior on the fragile balance of nature and the world’s sustainability.
The personal relationship and knowing and trusting well the others’ work, plays a very important role in this partnership with Fairtransport and VivoLoVin. It makes all the difference and, by getting back to basics, marks a departure from the rhythm dictated by trendsetters and high finance that is often followed by most modern production and trading activities.” João Menéres.
The arrival of the « sailed wine » is planned for the end of October. This year we not only ship red Westerlies, but also a small edition of white Westerlies, as well as olive oil in small bottles as well as in 3 l tins and Portwein Quinta do Trovisca. All wines and olive oil come from the Quinta do Romeu, are naturaly handcrafed and organically grown. The only product that does not come from the Quinta do Romeu is the Portwein. Of course, this product is made just as much under the biological aspects.
The goods are shipped with the « Nordlys », the oldest cargo ship in the world to the “Gläserne Werft” of the Schiffergilde e.V. in the « Neuer Haven » to Bremerhaven. Westerlies are the prevailing winds blowing from the west in the the north of the Atlantic Ocean, the driving force for sailing ships on their way across the Atlantic to Europe. Even the « Nordlys », without any engine aboard, relies on this wind power. The « Nordlys » and the sister ship the « Tres Hombres » are operated by the Dutch shipping company Fairtransport.
This year, we do not just want to transport more wine and olive oil, but we will transport the goods from Bremerhaven with the historic Weser ferry « Franzius » to Bremen and from there, so it is planned, with cargo bikes to individual retail customers and restaurateurs – Bikes will be also carrying the wines to our main warehouse at Bremen Neustadt.
By sea transport, the transport with the traditional Weserkahn and the use of cargo bikes in Bremen, we want to make Bremen, in a joint action with the various actors involved, Bremen’s trade, port and shipping history come alive. At the same time, the project is an exemplary reference to the risks and solutions of current challenges. As a port, logistics and trading city, Bremen was and is dependent on being able to react flexibly to any change. No matter if the environmental conditions change radically or if technical or regional and international coordinates change. The Weserkahn, Bremerhaven, the Lower Weser and the city Bremen ports represent this adaptability of Bremen. Wine and olive oil are traditional Bremian merchandise, which established the reputation of the city and continues to this day.
Thus, the project « sailed Wine » combines central themes of the Bremen harbor and commercial history with the current challenges of progressive climate change and the necessary reorientation of urban logistics and mobility concepts.
When you choose to do business with Fairtransport Shipping Company, you are not just moving your cargo; you are investing in the idea of clean shipping and you are investing in the future and yourself. Shipping with Fairtransport reduces your carbon emissions during transportation by 90%. Move your cargo today! Learn more: http://fairtransport.eu/shipping/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are navigating our way from Den Helder to the southern peninsula of Europe.
When you are sailing the North Atlantic waters in the early months of the year, the weather conditions might be sometimes a bit rough.
Fortunately there are nowadays good weather forecasts for the first days to come. The depressions developing on the Atlantic Ocean are moving northeast over the continent and bring us the southwesterly gales. Keeping a good eye on the forecast can be life saving. With this in mind we had to make a stop in Brixham and another one in Douarnenez.
While we were there and waiting for fair weather, we were able to do maintenance on the ship, we tested our new anchor winch and worked on sail training. Provisions for the ship came from local farmers.
Fellow sailors, shipwrights, local merchants and friends came by on the Nordlys. Creating a stable market and expanding ideas for the Fairtransport enterprise.
We departed from Douarnenez on a shiny sunday morning and tacked our way towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Bay of Biscay is well known for its rough seas and has to be avoided in the certain weather conditions.
With a ship like Nordlys you will need about four or five days of fair winds to cross this bay. This brings us to were we are right now. We are sailing southwards on the Atlantic swell about 150 nautical miles from Porto.
On board we are nine crew, so eighteen hands to handle the sails, ropes and rudder, preparing food and so forth..
As a team in the rhythm of the sea.
Porto will be our first harbor where we charge cargo of all kind. The hold will be filled with organic products from the Douro region. We will bring these products by wind and sail to the northern countries of the continent.
Transport makes it possible to eat delicious olives, taste an excellent olive oil,use Atlantic sea salt for your meals and enjoy a natural wine, in for example England, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and so forth. Products which are not only produced in a nature friendly way, but also transported so. Sometimes the work on the land is slightly harder, sometimes the transport takes a bit longer… The taste of it all is definitely better! Respect the laws of nature. And nature gives it back.
captain Lammert Osinga
Xisto Wines, run by Anton Mann and Lela McTernan are proud to be the only UK wine importers dedicated solely to importing Portuguese artisan wines.
They work with the new wave of young winemakers , who work sustainably, producing small quantities of the finest quality wines with character and a sense of place.
Wines that take you on a journey from the banks of the Douro river to the high mountain tops. Lisbon wines that hint of salty seashells, wines from Dao, Alentejo and Vinho Verde that reflect the terroir perfectly.
These wines are made by producers who are experts in knowing their vineyards, nurturing them in organic and bio dynamic ways.
Indigenous grapes are hand picked, foot trodden and allowed lovingly with minimal intervention and maximum skill for the amazing delicious wines to emerge.
Xisto Wines have become great friends with all their producers and visit them regularly so they can assure their customers of the provenance of their wines.
The producers are 100% behind them in their chosen method of transport, even making unique wines that are shipped in barrel on Tres Hombres or Nordlys to be bottled in Bristol under the PORT O ‘BRISTOL flag.
Bristol and Portugal have historic trade links (Bristol and Porto are twinned cities) which feels right to reestablish with their wines and organic olive oil ( Portugal’s finest , single Quinta do Romeu ) cargo in the belly of a Fairtransport vessel.
From the beginning of 2010 Anton was in discussion with Fairtransport to try and realise their dream of transporting their wines by sail using zero carbon. Over the intervening years this is a reality. It is extremely important to them and the winemakers to leave as little a footprint as possible.
To that end they are really excited to sail the wines made with grapes, genius and passion in a vessel powered by the wind and skilful sailor’s..
MADE BY REBELS
SHIPPED BY PIRATES
DRUNK BY HEROES
For more information about Xisto’s sail shipped wines : https://xistowines.com/
Move your cargo emission free on one of our ships: http://fairtransport.eu/shipping/
Nordlys underway, heading for Porto.
This year we had an early start. As Dirk and Annelies came along with their tugboat “Gar”, on the 19th of March, there was still some ice in the canals of Den Helder. We sailed out of Marsdiep with a fair and cold Northeasterly wind.
Supposedly we should have departed a week earlier. Due to the wintery weeks before, there was a little delay on some deck repairs.
A tough crew of seven people handling and navigating Nordlys over the North Sea in the wintery weather. Warm clothes and a lot of blankets kept us warm since there is no heating system on the ship.
Fair winds brought us quickly in the English Channel, where the westerly winds appeared. Tacking our way trough the Channel with her strong tidal currents, especially with spring tide, made us progress a bit slower.
Sailing our way westward, my idea was to make a stop in Falmouth. You need a good weather window to cross the Biscay. It can be very rough in stormy weather. Due to our slow progress westward, beating our way against the waves and wind, I decided to make a stop in Brixham. Here we have some time to work on the crew and ship. We could also unload a barrel of organic wine. Anton, the wine importer, was happy to receive his goods earlier then expected.
There is nothing changing as quickly as the weather. The rhythm of nature is our engine. To sail a ship by wind means to respect the rhythm.
Soon we set sail for Porto. Again we will fill the hold with beautiful Portugese products for the northern European market.
Captain Lammert Osinga
photo ©Martin Sinnock
We are under sail again. Tacking our way out of the Bay of Biskay and heading for Fowey in Cornwall.
Two beautiful days we spend in another little paradise. At our arrival, it looked like, if almost all the people of the village L’Herbaudiere, were standing at the pier to welcome us. Assisted by the SNSM rescue boat, we could enter the harbor.
At Ile de Noirmoutier we unloaded a part of the portugese olive oil.
All the olive oil was already sold. Everybody came directly to the ship to pick up their share of this delicious oil.
This was a interesting happening with a tasting session at the quay.
Several articles appeared in the local newspaper. We were the talk of the island for a couple of days.
All this was made possible by Alexandra Geldenhuys from « New Dawn Traders » and Alex Etourneau who imported the olive oil.
Also thanks to Etienne and his friends, who introduced us to the island, invited us for a delicious meal and helped us a lot in many ways.
Thank you Noirmoutier.
Captain Lammert Osinga
Nordlys had finished the Baltic voyage earlier this year. The ship was loaded with natural wine from France for Copenhagen, Bornholm and Rostock. From there we made a stop in Den Helder and prepared for a southern cargo trip. On our way to Porto we made a stop in Devon, a region on the southern coast of England.
Brixham is a little historic harbor in the Torbay. This is a good bay to shelter for the westerly storms.
Over here we waited till the first autumn storms passed by. Sorlandet,(a Norwegian Tallship) also bounded south,
was at anchor outside in the bay. She was taking shelter, just like us.
While being here, we could do little maintenance on the ship. Caulking, pitching, rigging work and so forth.
Brixham is the home port for several Sailing Trawlers like Nordlys. They do charter-sailing their goal is to bring the people out of the cities and take them into nature.
It was a beautiful view to see Nordlys moored together with these similar traditional sailing ships. With their crews we were able to exchange knowledge about Sailing Trawlers and spending a good time together. Our good friend Tony Knights, skipper of the Leader, was also around and of great help. We had a useful stop and a good time with the sailors from Brixham.
Last Thursday morning we set sail again, since the forecasts showed a good weather window to cross the Bay of Biskay.
Jeroen is the cook on board and providing us every day with delicious food. He supplied our stock with beautiful seasonal products from local farmers and producers. It takes a bit more time, but it is so much better than the supermarketfood. Good food which stays longer fresh, are stored in the galley now. The taste of this vegetables and fruits are just fantastic.
At the moment we are sailing southwards in the Biskay and making a good progress. Next port of call is Porto. This old town is situated on the mouth of the river Douro. Porto and the Douro were of great value in the era of sail concerning in- and export of goods for the country. We will be moored in the Douro estuary and going to charge a well amount of precious goods from Portugal.
We have Olive-oil, Almond-oil, Salt, Natural Wine and Port Wine, to fill our cargo-hold with. These wares are bound for the more northern parts of the European continent, like France, England, Germany and the Netherlands.
We will be able to tell everybody the story of the producers and their way of working.
Fairtransport completes the tale, by the way these products are being transported. The cargo-hold of Nordlys will be completely filled; Almost thirty tons of beautiful products from Portugal we have to move by wind and sail. More and more cargo-owners like to see their goods being transported overseas by sail. They are also willing to pay a little more, for a better cause
Captain Lammert Osinga