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Oregon winemakers discuss challenges facing the industry and how it will impact buyers

The Oregon wine industry faces supply chain, worker shortage and inflation issues that could increase the cost of the product.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon wine industry is dealing with supply chain issues and worker shortages like so many other industries. 

Jeff Lewis with Alexana Winery in Newberg, Oregon is worried about all of these issues, including inflation. He said everything from glass to corks is getting more expensive. 

"We're really seeing the effects of packaging and transportation right now," Lewis said. "The wines were made and now you have to put them in a bottle, you have to get the glass, you have to get the corks, you have to get the capsules, those things are twice as much as they were two years ago."

Throughout the week, The Oregon Wine Symposium is happening virtually. Lewis will speak at the event about some of these issues. He said there's still a lot of demand for wine but there's not as much stock as pre-pandemic.

"I think you're going to see a lot of those 10-15% price increases in a lot of situations," Lewis said. "Some people are going to be able to hold their price points just to maintain that unique position within a market just to be competitive. A lot of it is, our $55 bottles are now going to be $60."

The symposium has been happening for 20 years. It brings leaders from across the industry together to network and talk about the challenges. Oregon Wine Board Executive Director Tom Danowski said winemakers are trying to balance these inflation issues.

"Inflation is a concern," Danowski said. "I know a lot of wineries are being very cautious in trying to cover their increasing costs of production but not create too much of a barrier with trial and experimentation that has benefited Oregon so much in the past," Danowski said.

Lewis said winemakers are going to have to get creative in the future because the product is becoming more and more expensive to produce.

"I think you're going to see some innovative packaging solutions," Lewis said. "I think people are going to reimagine what kind of label they're using."

In order to increase diversity within the industry, the Oregon Wine Board provided free passes to nonprofits that help BIPOC people get into the industry.


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