Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

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Albert_H
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Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#1 Post by Albert_H »

https://www.winespectator.com/articles/ ... -on-a-boat

I overheard a conversation yesterday from a friend who’s business associate that had a container full of food items that spoiled while waiting to dock. I’ve known of the backup at the ports in CA for several months now but never thought about the chance of fine wine being stuck on these ships. I know ocean voyages/shipments can often take a month and the backup at the ports are adding an additional delay upwards of another month.

Are these refrigerated containers able to stay temperature controlled through delays like this?

I’m wondering if I should be holding off on these 2018 Bordeaux hitting the market.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#2 Post by Arv R »

I was taking delivery of a few items from a big West Coast retailer about two weeks ago and they mentioned they had a ton of stuff stuck on ships. They advised me to be patient as they are expecting supply problems for months, and noted that Italy would be a sore spot for them in particular.
Last edited by Arv R on April 28th, 2021, 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#3 Post by Markus S »

So Premier Cru is vindicated: the wine is on the water. [truce.gif]
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#4 Post by S. Rash »

I was down at Huntington Beach in CA last weekend and there were at least 15 large container ships sitting off the coast waiting to enter the Port of Los Angeles.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#5 Post by Oliver McCrum »

Albert_H wrote: April 28th, 2021, 10:11 am https://www.winespectator.com/articles/ ... -on-a-boat

I overheard a conversation yesterday from a friend who’s business associate that had a container full of food items that spoiled while waiting to dock. I’ve known of the backup at the ports in CA for several months now but never thought about the chance of fine wine being stuck on these ships. I know ocean voyages/shipments can often take a month and the backup at the ports are adding an additional delay upwards of another month.

Are these refrigerated containers able to stay temperature controlled through delays like this?

I’m wondering if I should be holding off on these 2018 Bordeaux hitting the market.
Refrigerated containers are like big fridges plugged into the ship's power. The only problem I've heard of with reefers is if they are set to the wrong temperature; a friend once had a container that was frozen solid, took days to thaw out.

Europe to the West Coast is about a month normally, but there are delays in the whole chain these days, it's a nightmare for importers. What with duty, COVID, and now this it's been quite a year for the trade.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#6 Post by Chris Seiber »

It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#7 Post by Doug Schulman »

Albert_H wrote: April 28th, 2021, 10:11 am https://www.winespectator.com/articles/ ... -on-a-boat

I overheard a conversation yesterday from a friend who’s business associate that had a container full of food items that spoiled while waiting to dock. I’ve known of the backup at the ports in CA for several months now but never thought about the chance of fine wine being stuck on these ships. I know ocean voyages/shipments can often take a month and the backup at the ports are adding an additional delay upwards of another month.

Are these refrigerated containers able to stay temperature controlled through delays like this?

I’m wondering if I should be holding off on these 2018 Bordeaux hitting the market.
Shipment from Europe to the West Coast can take far longer than a month without the current delays. About 1 month is standard but far from universal. Right now everything is delayed. 3-4 months is not unusual, and I'd bet some shipments are taking even longer. That's not to mention the container shortage. Many shipments are waiting for weeks or months just to be picked up at their port of departure. Then there are the delays for pickups at wineries.

Reefers should be fine as long as the ships have fuel. I don't know how long it would take for that to become an issue, but I doubt it will. Of course, not all importers use reefers, and a "dry" (unrefrigerated) container in direct sun can heat up like a car with the windows up, even when the outside temperature isn't very high. Importers who care are doing everything they can to ensure that the wines arrive in good condition. This is a tough situation all around.

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#8 Post by Mel Knox »

Oliver,
I was asked to look at a container of wine shipped by the lafite people to their California outfit...frozen....$$$$$$$


I have some wine on a container that was shipped two months ago. The ship people decided to skip Oakland and go on to BC.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#9 Post by brigcampbell »

S. Rash wrote: April 28th, 2021, 1:50 pm I was down at Huntington Beach in CA last weekend and there were at least 15 large container ships sitting off the coast waiting to enter the Port of Los Angeles.
It's really backed up and those are just the boat that arrived at port.

It's brutal trying to get on a boat now. Things will get worse as the economy continues steam ahead.

COVID shut down the global supply chain and getting back to full speed takes time.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#10 Post by Oliver McCrum »

Mel Knox wrote: April 30th, 2021, 12:06 am Oliver,
I was asked to look at a container of wine shipped by the lafite people to their California outfit...frozen....$$$$$$$


I have some wine on a container that was shipped two months ago. The ship people decided to skip Oakland and go on to BC.
Ouch.

I envy NY importers their short shipping time.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#11 Post by Marshall Manning »

Doug Schulman wrote: April 29th, 2021, 5:54 pm Of course, not all importers use reefers, and a "dry" (unrefrigerated) container in direct sun can heat up like a car with the windows up, even when the outside temperature isn't very high. Importers who care are doing everything they can to ensure that the wines arrive in good condition. This is a tough situation all around.
It's been 5 years since I was in the wine business, so maybe things have gotten better, but when I was putting Eric Solomon containers together they were surprised that I insisted on reefers for all shipments. And I used refrigerated trucks for everything, too. Some may complain about Kermit Lynch pricing, but they always insisted on temp-controlled containers and trucks for their shipments. A lot of importers/distributors don't do this, or at least didn't at that time.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#12 Post by Oliver McCrum »

Marshall,

My warehouse tells me the same thing, that most of the containers they unload are not reefers.

When I was first working for myself, I was told by an experienced logistics person working for a larger company that you didn't need to use reefers; after a year or two I put recording thermometers on two containers and was horrified by the data. I've shipped reefers ever since.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#13 Post by Doug Schulman »

Marshall Manning wrote: April 30th, 2021, 10:42 am
Doug Schulman wrote: April 29th, 2021, 5:54 pm Of course, not all importers use reefers, and a "dry" (unrefrigerated) container in direct sun can heat up like a car with the windows up, even when the outside temperature isn't very high. Importers who care are doing everything they can to ensure that the wines arrive in good condition. This is a tough situation all around.
It's been 5 years since I was in the wine business, so maybe things have gotten better, but when I was putting Eric Solomon containers together they were surprised that I insisted on reefers for all shipments. And I used refrigerated trucks for everything, too. Some may complain about Kermit Lynch pricing, but they always insisted on temp-controlled containers and trucks for their shipments. A lot of importers/distributors don't do this, or at least didn't at that time.
Many still don’t. Many. Kermit Lynch and a few others do take the utmost care. I think the dedication to quality that they have is not common, unfortunately. Don’t get me wrong, there are others like them, and I am not disparaging anyone specifically. I just wish every company importing ageworthy wine understood and cared about the importance of doing everything refrigerated.

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#14 Post by Nate Simon »

Mods, can this be merged with the Maison Ilan thread? [cheers.gif]

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#15 Post by Kirk.Grant »

Chris Seiber wrote: April 29th, 2021, 3:57 pm It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.
If the wine is in large, unrefrigerated CON-EX shipping containers I would disagree. Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day...
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#16 Post by Chris Seiber »

Kirk.Grant wrote: May 1st, 2021, 2:55 pm
Chris Seiber wrote: April 29th, 2021, 3:57 pm It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.
If the wine is in large, unrefrigerated CON-EX shipping containers I would disagree. Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day...
Yes, that’s all relevant. I have zero idea where and in what exposure wines sit on cargo ships.

I wouldn’t think it would be “Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day” since that would affect the wines just on the scheduled voyage and even before ships are stuck waiting outside the port.

But I don’t actually know.

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#17 Post by Doug Schulman »

Chris Seiber wrote: May 1st, 2021, 6:50 pm
Kirk.Grant wrote: May 1st, 2021, 2:55 pm
Chris Seiber wrote: April 29th, 2021, 3:57 pm It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.
If the wine is in large, unrefrigerated CON-EX shipping containers I would disagree. Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day...
Yes, that’s all relevant. I have zero idea where and in what exposure wines sit on cargo ships.

I wouldn’t think it would be “Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day” since that would affect the wines just on the scheduled voyage and even before ships are stuck waiting outside the port.

But I don’t actually know.
It definitely can be that scenario, which can push temperatures within the container easily 20 to 30° above the outside temperature. If the container is lower down, it might not be exposed to much or any direct sunlight and might not have that problem. Refrigerated containers are fine either way as long as the refrigeration stays on and there’s no malfunction.

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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#18 Post by John Morris »

Mel Knox wrote: April 30th, 2021, 12:06 am Oliver,
I was asked to look at a container of wine shipped by the lafite people to their California outfit...frozen....$$$$$$$


I have some wine on a container that was shipped two months ago. The ship people decided to skip Oakland and go on to BC.
I have friends in Vancouver who no doubt would be happy to help you out. For a fee, of course. There are some Berserkers in Vancouver, too, who I'm sure would come to your aid ... for a price.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#19 Post by John Morris »

Chris Seiber wrote: May 1st, 2021, 6:50 pm
Kirk.Grant wrote: May 1st, 2021, 2:55 pm
Chris Seiber wrote: April 29th, 2021, 3:57 pm It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.
If the wine is in large, unrefrigerated CON-EX shipping containers I would disagree. Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day...
Yes, that’s all relevant. I have zero idea where and in what exposure wines sit on cargo ships.

I wouldn’t think it would be “Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day” since that would affect the wines just on the scheduled voyage and even before ships are stuck waiting outside the port.

But I don’t actually know.
I remember an importer in California, defending shipment in unrefrigerated containers, saying that you could arrange from them to be loaded below deck. He claimed this was safer than reefers, where the thermostat could go haywire. [cough, cough]

This was self-justifying, but perhaps there was some truth to the notion that could could specify below decks.
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Re: Wine stuck on ships at the port in CA

#20 Post by John Morris »

Kirk.Grant wrote: May 1st, 2021, 2:55 pm
Chris Seiber wrote: April 29th, 2021, 3:57 pm It's plenty cool on the water offshore LA recently and for the next few months anyway. I would think wine would be fine even without refrigeration.
If the wine is in large, unrefrigerated CON-EX shipping containers I would disagree. Large metal container under the sun, no shade, all day...
When you look at the size of those ships, the proportion of containers exposed to the sun is pretty small.

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