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Wine News

Washed-up barrels a worry for South Africa's wine harvest

The shipwreck of the Napoli container vessel could cause problems for the South African wine industry. When the Napoli grounded off the English coast last week and its cargo was washed up on Branscombe beach in Devon, it included 158 French barrels destined for a number of wineries in South Africa.

The oak barriques were made by Tonnellerie Boutes and, according to the company’s head of communications, Julien Segura, ‘They are mainly for the vinification of white wines, so this may cause problems for some of the wineries with the 2007 harvest just about to start.’ The company is trying to send out a new consignment to South Africa as quickly as possible, but aren’t yet sure of a date.

The barrels are worth about £425 each and the makers are philosophical about local treasure seekers removing them from the beach. ‘I suppose it’s just their good luck,’ said Julien.

It looks as if a number of Devon’s gardens will end up with some of the most expensive flower pots and water butts in England.