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Gaillac to Bordeaux, transporting wines

Gaillac wines have been shipped for sale by barge to Bordeaux since the days of the Greeks.  Gaillac_Quai_IMG_4467_d.JPG

Gaillac represented until a weir and lock were built,  the navigable head of the river Tarn.

Today among other things I visited the site of the old quai (quay) of Gaillac.

I’m viewing the site for a painting, a major historical reconstruction of the quai in former years at its busyest.

This is intended to become part of ‘The Famous Wine Villages of France‘ series linking the wines with trade by sea.

The new painting will be one of a pair, the other to show English ships arriving at the mouth of the Gironde for the new wines.

Gaillac is set in the province of Le Tarn, deep in the Midi Pyrenees region of France.

The region is very beautiful in a rural idyllic way especially in the north, not much visited though.

It is so remote, even many French people have no idea where the Tarn and Gaillac are!

Today this typical southern market town of some 20,000 inhabitants is best know for its Abbey although the older parts are very picturesque and the quarter near the quay has many semi derelict properties nicely ripened so invite restoration. Abbee_St_Michel_IMG_4469_d.JPG

Although Gaillac is not and never was a highly rated area for wines it does produce some ‘interesting’ wines and historically most of the region’s production was sold from Bordeaux where formally for example, the port of Plymouth sent 600 ships in the autumn for the Tonnes (large barrels) of wine.

Imagine how many ships arrived from other North European ports…?

Ships are still measure by the ton, the origin of which was for import duty on the number of tonnes a ship could carry.

This was a big business and it still has reverberations today, Bordeaux remaining a very International province with ancient and still strong English connections, for example the English did much to improve the wines of Bordeaux and in the days of the Plantagenets were masters of Bordeaux and much of that territory of  which  is now considered France.

More will appear of this tale as the story develops so if you love wines, good foods and are interested in sampling them watch this blog for news of an exhibition of the paintings together with the products.

If you are interested in assisting with this project don’t hesitate to get in touch soon, while it is forming.

Cheers, santé, enjoy.