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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.

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