Businesses are clearly worried about the health of their employees right now, and the wine industry is no different. Wine production is still very labor intensive, especially for smaller producers, with both temporary and permanent employees working in all aspects of the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the bottling line.
Louise Domenitz, marketing director for eProvenance, a provider of global monitoring solutions for wine and other commodities, such as fine art, that are sensitive to temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions, said clients are concerned about the health of their workers, as well as the potential impact on operations.
While wine producers are generally allowed to continue operating because they’re considered an agricultural business, they are aware of the potential for disruptions to the supply chain if there is a “surge in people falling ill, particularly if they are operations managers who may not be easy to substitute or replace,” Domentiz explained.
However, “With revisions to regulations changing almost daily, and more countries opting for ‘lockdown’ mode, the situation may be very different at any moment,” she emphasized.
Likewise, “As more is learned about the transmission of the virus, more adjustments will likely be made in logistics/handling guidelines and practices,” added Domenitz.
“For now, most of our clients continue to ship and monitor their shipments. We continue to operate and provide results and analysis to our clients. Obviously, getting results back also assures clients that their shipments have arrived as intended.”
Kenny Rochford and Matt Allan, founders of West + Wilder, said the wine industry is already seeing some impacts on labor, especially on bottling lines. Not only is it getting harder to procure temporary labor for the lines, workers are also understandably concerned about working in close proximity to one another.