Back in May 2020, our friend, semi-permanent hobo, financial writer, and family man Tom Dyson, went bullish on shipping tankers. His rationale was that the best time to invest in shipping companies is, firstly, when they are hated, and secondly, when shipping rates are going to rise.

At the time, the S&P 500 had still not recovered from its crash. With the world shut down, Tom’s first condition had undoubtedly been met.

The second, however, seemed less likely. What’s the value of owning a globe-trotting tanker, if the global economy is closed for business?

But Tom’s prediction would prove remarkably prescient. Nearly a year later, a surge in shipping volumes sent prices soaring as tanker ships as big as a New York City skyscraper jammed California’s ports by the dozen.

And right there, in the middle of this titanic traffic jam... trying to get a single shipping container of wine up from Argentina... was our humble Partnership.

More on that in a moment... But first, since your extreme altitude Argentine collection has a focus on cabernet sauvignon, this week we're revisiting one of Julien Miquel's early videos on the cab sauv grape...

In the Heart of the Global Shipping Jam (continued)

Here at Bonner Private Wine Partnership, we expect delays from time to time. For many small-batch winemakers, selling the wine they make is one of those necessary but hated facts of life – much like a root canal or a prostate exam.

And then there’s the local transportation issue – impassable roads, trucks and tractors that break down, strikes... you name it.

But once the wine actually gets on the boat, we’re usually in the clear. Off it goes to California, and we needn’t worry about it again until the day we pack it up at the warehouse for dispatch to your doorstep.

That ceased being true last December, as we sat waiting for our shipment of the new Argentine Collection.

It was partly due to a surge in online shipping over the holidays (and goods Made in China).

The online shipping frenzy was compounded by a loss of air cargo due to fewer passenger flights.

The shipping industry soon found itself overwhelmed.

“I live on the beach,” Weston LaBar, CEO of Long Beach’s Harbor Trucking Association, told MarketWatch. “I get up every morning, I have my cup of coffee, and it’s ships as far as the eye can see.”

He was referring to the record shipping jam at Long Beach and Los Angeles, as 38 ships sat anchored, waiting to unload.

As recently as February 2nd, 37 ships still waited, as 27 more vessels unloaded at port.

Fortunately, we had shipped from Argentina early enough to avoid some of the longest delays. The wine made it to our warehouse in early January. The only wine that didn’t make it was the newest shipment of Sunal Ilógico malbec, which Diego tells us will be delayed for a month.

Still, we have more than enough high-altitude malbecs to keep everyone satisfied. If you need a few more, you can always hit reply and let us know.

Until next week,

The Wine Explorer

Bonner Private Wine Partnership