Immediate release - November 12th 2020


Dynamic ageing of wines and spirits at sea: a review of 8 years of experience at the time of the change of scale

With a sixth departure, transatlantic, this week for Bordeaux Château Le Puy, and several world firsts in whisky, cognac and rum, TOWT - Transport by Sail decarbonises and restores its credentials to the sea-ageing of wines and spirits. Its four modern Sailing-Cargo vessels will dedicate a large part of their capacities to this.

Le Cam and Le Puy: great skippers and grands crus take to the sea...

They will be shaken. And their organisms will be severely tested by the sailing conditions, the 20-minute micro-nights and the deafening noise of their IMOCAs. But that's all they've been dreaming about for the past four years. 33 skippers left Les Sables d'Olonne last Sunday to sail around the world in less than 80 days.
At the same time, in Douarnenez, another great sailing departure is being prepared. Co-charterer of the schooner Avontuur, the largest decarbonised cargo ship in the world with a capacity of 100 tonnes, TOWT – Transport by Sail is launching its 7ème 7th campaign of ageing at sea.
It is not 120 kg of freeze-dried products here, but rather 1000 litres of a Bordeaux grand cru (Château Le Puy), which will be shipped this week for a 7-month Atlantic tour.

The Avontuur, the largest cargo ship in the world (capacity 100 tons), on its arrival in Douarnenez.

Sea Ageing of Wines and Spirits: unique expertise and world firsts for TOWT-Transport by Sail

The TOWT company is known for its carbon-free transport activity. Since its creation, the leading carrier of goods by sail has indeed transported more than a million mainly organic and fair trade products, and labelled ANEMOS, on the Atlantic and transatlantic routes.
But the Breton company has also forged a name for itself and a precious expertise in an original and unique activity: the sea ageing of wines and spirits. In a little less than 10 years, TOWT has thus been solicited by several great names in wine, whisky, cognac et du rum. The result has been several . « world firsts ».

BORDEAUX - « Return from the Islands »: a story that continues with a sixth departure for Château le Puy

At the end of the week, 4 barrels selected by the Bordeaux winegrowers of Château Le Puy are getting ready to embark on board Avontuur for a tour of the Atlantic. For about seven months, the sea will naturally energise this wine to make a legendary cuvée called "Retour des Îles" (Return from the Islands).

« Since the 2012 vintage, Château Le Puy has been sailing from the barrels to the West Indies aboard large transport sailing ships, in partnership with TOWT - Transport by Sail. From these long sailings, around the Atlantic, on the trade wind route, to the rhythm of rolling and pitching, the cuvée baptised "Retour des Îles" draws out a beautiful expression of fruit accompanied by supple and melted tannins, for a harmonious and very expressive wine; thus reviving a century-old tradition, of the alliance between the great wines of Bordeaux and the great sailing ships sailing across the Atlantic. This year again, Château le Puy is renewing the adventure with TOWT, after previous successful editions. »

Pascal AMOREAU, Owner of the Château Le Puy vineyard

COGNAC - "Camus Carribean Expedition" : first world and success story for cognac released this autumn

In July 2020, The Moodie Davitt Report et The Spirits Business hailed a "first in the world of Cognac" when they presented the sale by CAMUS of the first cognac aged on board a sailing ship. Setting out from La Rochelle in 2018, the 10 barrels of cognac loaded by TOWT on board De Gallant had reached Barbados in January 2019. After a year and a half of additional maturation in the tropics, 4500 bottles of Camus Caribbean Expedition were put on sale in September 2020.

« Celebrating a living tradition for five generations, CAMUS exploits the advantages of this historical heritage while remaining at the cutting edge of science, always in search of new aromas and degrees of intensity for its cognacs. This pioneering and pioneering spirit is partly based on an experimental vision of cognac, playing with the complexity of an already very intense aromatic profile of spirits. But how can we further explore the limits of cognac making, while respecting the appellation? CAMUS has decided to embark on a transoceanic journey to the Caribbean, to transport some of its finest Cognac casks solely by wind force and expose them to a totally new ageing process, first subjected to the hostility of oceanic and then tropical conditions, in order to obtain a liquid with an unprecedented and completely new profile. »

Jean-Dominique ANDREU, Chief Marketing Officer of CAMUS La Grande Marque

WHISKY - “Spirit of the Sea”: lessons of a "double deckchair" for Black Mountain whisky

As early as 2016, TOWT and Black Mountain had innovated by embarking a cask of whisky on board the old English lugger Grayhound, for 5 months of navigation on the Atlantic and the English Channel. On the strength of their success, the two companies repeated the experience in 2017.

« In November 2018, TOWT had loaded a new cask of Black Mountain whisky onto De Gallant for a return transatlantic crossing, to be aged at sea for more than six months". Black Mountain Compagnie continues its whisky maturation experimentation programme by sending a third cask to the sea, still in partnership with TOWT-Transport à la voile. This time, a double crossing of the Atlantic is planned for the Black Mountain cask, with a trip to the Caribbean and a return to the mainland six months later. This promises great adventures for the cask of whisky and another good taste surprise on its return. In 2016 Black Mountain Compagnie was a forerunner in being the first whisky blender-bottler to test the sea maturation of a cask of whisky on board merchant sailing ships. This first cask was loaded in May 2016 on board the Grayhound Lugger and validated the positive impact of a stay at sea on the maturation of whisky. Bottled under the name "Black Mountain - Spirit Of The Sea", this whisky has delighted whisky lovers and the 500 or so bottles were torn off in a few days. » 

Cédric LEPRETTE, Co-founder of Black Mountain

TOWT RUM - “Grayhound” & “L’Ultim” : special vintages of TOWT - Transport by Sail

In addition to offering its unique carbon-free carrier services, TOWT also markets its own sea-aged rums on board the company's chartered vessels.

« Grayhound » vintage for an agricultural rum from Marie-Galante, aged on site in oak tuns for more than 5 years, then 6 months at sea on board the English lugger Grayhound. Or « L’ Ultim », for a rum from Guadeloupe, aged for 4 years in casks, 70 days at sea in bourbon barrels and another 3 years in its cask in Breton Cornwall.

Ageing at sea at the heart of TOWT's modern Cargo Yacht fleet

TOWT will very soon reveal the name of the shipyard selected for the construction of its four modern, 78-metre-long Cargo Yachts. The first of the four will be, by the end of 2020, the world's largest Sailing-Cargo under construction.
It will be able to carry 1,000 tonnes of goods in six segregated holds, spread over three levels. It will also carry 12 passengers, in addition to its 8 crew members, for carbon-free crossings to North and South America and Africa.
Finally, it will offer a service unique in the world with its dedicated forward hold for the dynamic ageing of wines and spirits, which can accommodate more than 200 barrels.  This « intelligent and connected onboard cellar;» will communicate directly with the owners of the wines and spirits (temperature, hygrometry, pressure, wave height).

To find out more:

Recent press review :  

Visuals of the ship:

Contact us on 09 84 33 89 62 or on
Discover the products transported by TOWT
Copyright © 2018 TOWT-Transport à la voile, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.