I, Donald Ackerman, founded Flying Cloud wines out of pure passion, idealism and adventure. Please bear with me to bore you a little bit and touch on the name, Flying Cloud, it is a lovely story, for me at least, and it is hoped that you will also agree.
Well, all right, yes, all these stories normally start with some account of how it was a lifelong desire to make wine and experience the professed mystic powers of fermenting grapes magically turned into an excellent wine.
Now then, let us skip the obvious; you need to be absolutely insanely mad to attempt and try your hand at the fermentation of grape juice, ordinarily called winemaking; I would rather call it the making of a true man. It may very well drive you insane; therefore, you need to drink the fruit of your making to keep you sane, already insane? Well, insanely, at the beginning of 2013, I decided to try my hand at this wonderful mysterious biological phenomenon known as wine.
First things first, I needed a name, you cannot, absolutely cannot make wine without a name? I, as usually are the case, did an insanely lot of research. My friends and family claim I may be, just a little bit, obsessive compulsive. They are all liars.
The sea off Cape Agulhas – the terroir where I originally sourced my grapes – is notorious for winter storms and mammoth rogue waves, which can range up to thirty metres high and can sink even large ships. These hazards have combined to make the Cape notorious among sailors. The coast here is littered with wrecks, but, who wants to start a new venture with a shipwreck as a name?
All the same, I unearthed the great, great story about Clipper Ships and the clipper route that rounded Cape Agulhas.
In the 1840's there appeared on the oceans of the world the tallest, fastest, most beautiful sailing ships the seas have ever known. They were called Clipper Ships, and with the discovery of gold in California in 1849, and Australia in 1850, they were to play a dominant role in the transport and communiqué of the seas. They plied the seas, via Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope, between Liverpool and Melbourne, New York and San Francisco, establishing records for speed, which have never been equalled under sail.
The story of the Most Famous Clipper Ship ever built if not the most famous Sailing Ship ever built is that of The Flying Cloud and the shipbuilder of The Flying Cloud was, wait for it, Donald McKay. I was sold.
The Flying Cloud was a clipper ship that set the world's sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco, 89 days 8 hours. She held this record for over 100 years. Flying Cloud was the most famous of the clippers built by Donald McKay.