Wine industry impacted by glass shortage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A nationwide glass shortage is impacting the wine industry.

Engelmann Cellars owner Brett Engelman says this year's bottling was delayed nearly two months because of the glass shortage and was about 200 cases short of what he needed.

He says their Old Vine Zin is "still sitting in the barrels," adding, "it'll be fine, it can age out a little longer, but it was sad we couldn't even get the bottling done."

The winemaker of 21 years says the days of ordering inventory as needed are a thing of the past.

He says, "With everything we do in the summer, we were getting real close to running out of bottled wines and we didn't know if we would make it to bottling."

In order to bottle what he could this year, bottle shape and size changed.

Some more noticeable than others, but a different sized bottle means new screen printing and different artwork at a higher cost.

Engelman says, "My art is in the barrel that goes in the bottles. My wife, she's the graphic artist. She designs this stuff, she has a story to this label. To have to change something like that, it's kinda sad. It takes from who you are."

As shelf appeal attracts first-time buyers, Engelman doesn't want to change the brand look.

"Maybe we don't do the silkscreen bottles, maybe we just go for a sticker as most wineries do. We're not there yet. Now if you come and talk to me in February and my bottling is pushed back to May, then we might be seriously talking about, 'Okay, we're going to stickers.'" says Engelman.

It's not just the aesthetics of a bottle that has winemakers opting to not can their wine. There's an aluminum shortage that's driving up prices.

Engelman says, "I wouldn't know what that can used to cost. So if I get into the game now and I'm paying more, that's just what I'm used to paying. With glass, we went up 20 percent on this last order just on our glass prices."

Though shipping for the bottles and wine glasses they could find increased, Engelmann says he is absorbing the cost to avoid raising prices for now.
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