Mess on the High Seas: That Imported Wine You Want Might Be Stuck on a Boat


When the massive container ship Ever Given managed to wedge itself sideways in the Suez Canal on March 23, blocking traffic for nearly a week, it provided a fitting symbol for the state of global shipping in the past year. And while dredging, tug boats and the high tide of a full moon freed the ship, the shipping slowdowns continue. For wine lovers, that means some of their favorites may not be on store shelves anytime soon.

Importers breathed a sigh of relief when the Biden Administration paused the tariffs on wines from France, Spain and Germany last month. But they continue to face a major challenge: It has become increasingly difficult to get wines, or any cargo for that matter, to the U.S., and in the short term it’s possible the tariff reprieve has made things worse.

“The pandemic, combined with other challenges, created the biggest shipping challenge in the last 20 years,” said Alexi Cashen, CEO of business-to-business logistics company Elenteny Imports.

Read more of the Wine Spectator story by journalist Collin Dreizen on how U.S. importers and freight-forwarders are struggling, the ripple effects of tariffs, and the COVID-19 pandemic.