Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for 2021

The Great Supply Chain Kerfuffle of 2021

November 9th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Jeff Siegel, writing in an Editorial for “Wine Industry Advisor” reports that: “Delays in deliveries are affecting viticulture and winemaking procedures, product launches, and limiting consumers’ options during the peak of holiday wine-buying. Brian Talley ordered a new grape elevator in January, figuring that would allow plenty of time for him to use it this harvest. He figured wrong. The elevator not only didn’t arrive on time—it showed up three weeks after harvest started. And it came disassembled and broken.”

“That was pretty much a fiasco,” says Talley, whose 20,000-case Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, Calif., specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “The freight forwarder had all kinds of problems.” Siegel goes on to elaborate: “Welcome to the Great Supply Chain Kerfuffle of 2021, which has made itself felt up and down and throughout the wine business. In Texas, some wineries aren’t sure they’ll have enough bottles for the 2021 vintage. A California broker got one shipment of Australian wine in the spring but has no idea when the next will arrive. Wholesalers in a variety of states are scrambling to get product from producer to retailer—and sometimes coming up short. Some state ABCs are weeks behind in label approval. Even wine writers have been affected: One Texas reviewer was expecting a Chilean sample in July. It showed up at the end of October. Perhaps the most telling? In Napa, a French barrel manufacturer expected a shipment in June. Now it’s supposed to arrive in November—maybe.”

“When I kept telling them their barrels were going to be late, they were all angry and wanted to know if I actually knew what was going on and if the barrels were actually going to arrive,” says Françoise Gouges, who represents Burgundian barrel manufacturer in the U.S. “Now they’re sending me newspaper articles, saying, ‘We understand and we’re with you. We’re not mad at you anymore.’”

Siegel concludes: “All of this supply chain havoc has its roots in the pandemic, say a variety of people in the wine and shipping businesses, who cite ships backed up in ports around the world and a shortage of the containers used to ship goods internationally. And the supply chain problems are certainly not just about wine. One estimate by the Marine Traffic consultancy found 10 times as many ships waiting to unload in and around Los Angeles in October 2021 compared to October 2020. Depending on who is doing the estimating, the delays and shortages could last into next spring or into the beginning of 2023. At the end of the day, the wine industry and wine consumers need to understand the supply chain woes are bigger than any one person or company.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, we stock an inventory of our stainless-steel wine barrels. Note that our stainless-steel wine barrels are durable, reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

International Travel Alert for Those Flying to the United States

November 6th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.

The Ongoing Dilemma of Nuclear Waste Storage

November 5th, 2021 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Waste from nuclear power and weapons is a reality. And, as nuclear waste continues to pile up, scientists are keen to determine the safest long-term solution. These waste materials can be harmful to human or animal health and the environment, and so finding a safe way to store them is a perpetual puzzle. Especially considering that as scientists deliberate long-term storage solutions, the containers nuclear waste are currently held in continue to age and, in some scenarios, leak.

Nuclear waste leftover from nuclear power plants or by facilities involved in nuclear weapons production is highly radioactive and can remain dangerously radioactive for many thousands of years. For that reason, this accumulation of waste demands a permanent depository. 

Some nations have chosen to store liquid nuclear waste by vitrifying the hazardous material into glass. As an immobile solid, glass is highly durable and prevents toxic materials from leaking into the environment and also provides some shielding against radioactivity leakage. India, France and the UK are among the countries who have favored some vitrification of liquid waste for a number of years. While some operations in the U.S. do utilize this process, it isn’t considered a favorable solution long term.

For many countries with large quantities of waste to contend with, the plan is to develop deep geological repositories. In the U.S., one such proposition was a repository 300m below ground level beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Until a decision is made and acted on, much of America’s nuclear waste has been sitting in interim storage since the 1940s.

Tens of thousands of metric tons of radioactive spent nuclear fuel currently sit in a combination of stainless steel and concrete storage casks as they await permanent disposal. Here in Illinois, where Skolnik is headquartered, over 4,000 metric tons of uranium are sitting in storage. Stainless steel casks and salvage drums are a safe and preferred short term storage solution for spent-fuel and other nuclear waste materials. Scientists trust stainless steel, especially in conjunction with concrete, to keep controlled solids safely contained and protected from any corrosion from the dangerous materials themselves. The long-term issue lies in eventual aging and degradation from the environment itself.

These dry-cask containers and salvage drums were manufactured to withstand high levels of stress and damage. However, as these containers sit in limbo, above ground, they remain exposed to the outside elements for decades longer than originally intended.

When a HazMat shipment is Rejected!

October 26th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

Rejected shipments are classified dangerous goods shipments that did not meet the regulatory requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations. A rejected shipment can be the result of incorrect shipping papers, damaged packagings, non-compliant packagings, wrong markings and labels, or other mistakes. International and national regulations are frequently changing and thus, it is increasingly difficult for an organization to be sure they are compliant with all the legal shipping requirements. An incorrect shipping label can stop your shipment for days or even weeks. This simple mistake can cost your business thousands of dollars in fees, repackaging expenses, and costly delays. There a also the risk of compromising your customer’s trust. Therefore, once your shipment is rejected, what should you do?

First, the shipper must inform their shipping agent of the rejection. At that point, the shipping agent should contact the companies that will provide assistance for compliance. If the shipping agent is not able to offer a corrective action, then the Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) has member specialists that can help via telephone or travel on-site and run your rejected shipment through a dangerous goods checklist to ensure your shipment complies with the regulations. Depending on the reason for rejection, the goal is to properly prepare your rejected shipment and get it back into transportation!

Click HERE to contact COSTHA.

US Air Carrier Violates Tarmac Delay Rule

October 19th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Recently. the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined a major US airline $1.9 million for violating federal statutes and the Department’s rule prohibiting long tarmac delays. The airline was also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations. This is the largest fine issued by the Department for tarmac delay violations.

An extensive investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation

Consumer Protection (OACP) found that between December 2015 and February 2021, the airline allowed 20 domestic flights and 5 international flights at various airports throughout the United States to remain on the tarmac for a lengthy period of time without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. The tarmac delays affected a total of 3,218 passengers.

Under the DOT tarmac delay rule, airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than 3 hours at U.S. airports. International flights are prohibited to remain on the tarmac for more than 4 hours at U.S. airports without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane. The rule took effect 2010 and was expanded to include international flights in 2011. An exception exists for departure delays if the airline begins to return the aircraft to a suitable disembarkation point in order to deplane passengers by those times. An exception to the time limit is also allowed for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. The rule also requires airlines to provide adequate food and water, ensure that lavatories are working and, if necessary, provide medical attention to passengers during long tarmac delays.

DOT’s aviation consumer protection website makes it easy for travelers to understand their rights. The page on tarmac delays can be found HERE.

Opening a 40 Year Old Bottle of Wine

October 12th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing on her website, James Beard Award-winning author Madeline Puckette writes:

“For most of us, opening old vintage wine is a once in a lifetime experience. Here are some things we learned while opening 40-year-old wine. The wine of the night was a 1979 Diamond Creek Cabernet, but can we open it? It’s not as easy as you think. Here are some things we learned about old vintage wine.

  1. The cork is super fragile. Opening an old bottle of wine is difficult with a standard wine opener. Why? Well, the cork becomes very fragile (and soaked with wine!) as it ages. You’re going to need something far more specialized because the cork is fragile (and usually soaked with wine!). Some wine professionals recommend an opener called an “Ah-So”.
  2. Old wine is rated by its “shoulder level.” Over time, wine evaporates through the cork of the bottle. This is especially true in dry climates. Some older bottle of wine will have a reduced amount of wine inside the bottle. The best condition is if the wine goes up to the neck of the bottle. Then, “high shoulder” is when the bottle is filled to just below the neck as the bottle expands outward. And finally, the worst condition is anything at “low shoulder” and below.

Acidity: The wine had higher acidity. It’s possible that this wine when it came out tasted pretty tart!

Tannin: Those astringent, mouth-drying tannins soften and become more leathery with age.

Fruit: Originally, this wine must have had loads of tart red and black fruit flavors because it still had them at 42 years old!

Balanced Alcohol: Today, most Napa Valley wines range between 14%–15% alcohol by volume. What was so surprising about the 1979 was that the label listed that it only had 12.4% ABV! That is pretty light-bodied by today’s standards.

It doesn’t seem possible that a dry red wine can age more than 20 years, let alone 40! I think the entire group including the winemaker, sommelier, collector, and author were all surprised and delighted at how good the old wine tasted.

Here at Skolnik Industries, using our stainless steel wine barrels will provide a long life. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are durable, reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.