This New Shortage Could Ruin Your Favorite Wine, Experts Warn
One vineyard owner says wine is coming out tasting "like a sawmill."
After a long work day, there's often nothing better than winding down with a nice glass of wine. But that relaxing pastime is only really satisfying when the wine tastes good—and certain production issues could affect your wine's flavor. In fact, experts say one major shortage is affecting wine production so heavily, it could ruin your favorite bottle altogether. Read on to find out about the shortage, and what it means for your wine.
A shortage of glass bottles is affecting wine production.
Phil Long, the owner of Longevity Wines in Livermore, California, recently told Insider that a shortage of glass bottles is heavily affecting wine production by forcing some winemakers to leave wine aging in wood barrels for too long. This can make wine taste "like a sawmill," Long warned.
According to the vineyard owner, there is really no good solution when there are not enough bottles. Leaving wine in tanks can slow the maturation process and produce a bland flavor, while keeping wine in oak barrels can infuse the drink with an unpleasant taste.
"Too much oak throws the wine out of balance," Long said. "When oak becomes the dominant element in wine, it overshadows characteristic fruit flavors and tastes overwhelmingly woodsy."
But this is not the only production item in short supply.
According to Long, glass bottles are so hard to come by that he's had to resort to purchasing extra glass from other wineries and bottles bearing other vineyard's names. And that's not the only supply issue. Lloyd David, the owner of Corner 103 winery in Sonoma, California, told Insider that all goods are scarce right now. This includes paper items like labels and bags, as well as bottles and corks. According to David, these items are often stuck on container ships, which are caught in massive traffic jams at American ports.
"Wait time used to be measured in hours, but now it's measured in weeks," Long noted, adding that even once items are removed from container ships, they face a hard time getting to their final destination due to a labor shortage in the trucking industry.
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The price of wine might also increase as a result of these shortages.
Long said that this glass shortage, alongside supply constraints for other production items needed to bottle wine, is causing the cost of wine production to soar. For example, the cost of glass alone has risen by 45 percent compared to what it was in 2019. According to Long, this may force vineyards into raising the price of wine for customers, although he has personally resisted doing so thus far.
"But I'm not sure how long we can hold prices where they are," Long admitted. "Glass is a main ingredient to bottling wine. Imagine you're a cookie company and there was no flour."
Other alcohol shortages have hit certain states.
While many vineyards say the actual supply of wine is not the problem, NPR reported in late September that alcohol shortages are continuing to occur in certain states amid the pandemic. In states like Vermont, Jersey, and Ohio, these shortages have lasted for more than a year, the news outlet reported. And some states, like Pennsylvania, have even resorted to rationing alcohol supplies amid ongoing supply chain problems.
On Sept. 17, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) started barring customers from buying more than two bottles per day of specific products, which is in place "for the foreseeable future" until the supply chain becomes more reliable. The 43 items hit with purchasing limits includes specific types of champagne, bourbon, tequila, cognac and whiskey, like Baker's Straight Bourbon, Patrón Tequila, and Veuve Clicquot Champagne, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.