Wine shortage could result from supply chain issue, winery exec says

Business

(NewsNation Now) — If reading about potential holiday shortages has you reaching for a glass of wine, you may want to think about conserving.

A glass bottle crunch is leading to a squeeze on wine output, one winery logistics manager told NewsNation.

Mike Eaton, vice president of supply chain management for Jackson Family Winery, said it’s mostly a labor issue. Big wineries like his are able to make the wine, but suppliers aren’t able to move it.

“It’s starting to catch up to, I think, everybody,” he said on NewsNation’s “On Balance With Leland Vittert” on Monday. “We have plenty of wine in our cellar. And it’s just a matter of increasing the rigor in our planning process to make sure that nobody’s out of stock.”

If you’re thinking to yourself the answer could lead to a boom in box wine, he said the opposite is true.

“When we’re in a surplus, you get a lot of good juice and box wine,” Eaton said. “When we’re in a supply shortage, then then the box line has to scrape the bottom of the barrel, literally.”

Supply chain breakdowns have hit every industry imaginable, though particularly electronics. Compounding supply and demand irregularities during the pandemic are labor issues as the world comes out of it.

Some workers who had jobs that disappeared during lockdown have themselves now vanished when employers have asked them to return. Others are balking at workplace vaccine mandates.

Trucking jobs face the added burden of regulation. Drivers can only work so many hours before they’re required to rest, which limits how fast they can cut through a backlog.

“I’ve heard six months, I’ve heard 18 months, I’ve heard a year, I’ve heard 2023. Nobody can really pinpoint exactly when the backup is going to stop,” Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, said.

For now, Eaton says they’re managing. But 2021 has left everyone wondering what could happen next in every industry, including his.

“It’s a problem,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s crisis mode.”

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