French nuns in bid to sell 9,000 bottles of rosé wine by Monday

Abbey sisters place 'Divine Box' wine online after usual fairs cancelled by Covid

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Nuns in southeast France have turned to the internet in a bid to sell 9,000 bottles of rosé wine from their estate.

The wine - an addition to the nuns' repertoire this year - was intended to be sold alongside two well-established reds they produce and sell at wine fairs near the Abbaye de Jouques, Bouches-du-Rhône.

But the events - including the prestigious Salon des Vins d'Abbaye in Paris - have been cancelled due to Covid-19, leaving the enterprising religieuses scratching their heads in search for a plan B.

It did not take long to find a solution. The nuns, who have been making wines for 20 years, have followed the lead of other vignerons whose normal markets collapsed in the Covid-19 crisis, and decided to sell their wines online to individuals and wine merchants.

They have teamed up with appropriately named communications experts Divine Box, who set the nuns a challenge: pick up orders for 9,000 bottles by midnight on Monday, April 26.

"One of the constraints of the rosé world is that everything is done in February-March," Divine Box co-founder Côme Besse told France 3. He therefore proposed this small challenge: 9,000 bottles sold before Monday April 26 at midnight, closing time for orders.

One of the nuns, Sister Armel, added: "Rosé is not a wine to keep. When you produce it, you have to sell it that year, it does not improve over time."

Wine is vital to the abbey's 47 resident sisters, as sales provide a significant portion of its income. It also produces and sells olive oil and aromatic plants for perfumiers. As Sister Armel said, selling the wine "allows the good sisters to continue to live and the Abbey to prolong its existence".

Boxes of six bottles of the Exsulta rosé are on sale for €63.90. The two reds are also available.

The wines are available to order here. Deliveries will arrive at purchasers' doors from May 14 to May 28.

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