Four tips for beating the supply chain blues

Supply chain challenges are real these days.
The beverage industry — including wineries — is not immune. Delays are prevalent for glass, corks, juice and parts for your equipment.
More manufacturing is taking place overseas and people have relied more on online shopping during the pandemic.
But where there’s a problem, there’s a solution. Vintner Magazine reached out to its expert panel and asked it what to prioritize to keep moving the chains.

Plan ahead
“Just expect delays in every aspect of the supply chain,” said Christine Beaudette Tinelli, who is the Director of Client Development at MHW, a company that handles the back end for businesses that make beverage alcohol. “It’s going to take longer for transit. Labor shortages are going to affect how you can get juice.
“It’s going to take longer to make wine available. We’re not expecting this to go away in the short term, so you’re going to need to preorder.”

Beware of glass shortages
Glass shortages are a big obstacle to tackle — especially with specialty sizes such as 187 mL and 375 mL bottles.
“Make sure you’re thinking through your glass needs for the year,” Tinelli said. “Maybe commit to more glass. Get locked in. It may be pricier, but it’s something to think about.”

Keep spare parts on hand
Dr. Richard Obiso, owner of Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg, Virginia, said having spare parts on hand for crucial equipment can be helpful — especially if your destemmer dies during harvest.
“Fortunately, we keep spare parts for most of our equipment and we were able to repair the broken equipment in time to continue harvest,” Obiso said. “It may cost you upfront, but it will save you time and money in the long run. I also recommend doing it soon because some items take months to arrive.”

Drop the cork
“There are still a lot of wines that use cork,” Tinelli said. “In this particular supply chain, even less available than before. It can be hard to pivot away and change current SKUs, I get that. But with new ones coming out — new vintages — you can make tweaks unless you’re afraid it would compromise your brand.
“For day-to-day drinking at home, people like not using the wine opener and twisting off the cap, and you can still put great wine in those bottles. It’s something to think about.”

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