New Jersey wineries battle rising cost of packaging, shipping wine

While there isn't a wine shortage, the cost to package and ship bottles of wine has gone up.

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Friday, June 24, 2022
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Some of those costs are passed along to the consumer, increasing the price of a bottle of wine.

MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Wineries are being hit hard by the high cost of supplies, and they are also facing supply shortages.

While there isn't a wine shortage, the cost to package and ship bottles of wine has gone up, according to some employees at wineries in New Jersey.

Rich Heritage, the director of sales and marketing at William Heritage Winery, said he is trying to find ways to reduce packaging costs by selling wine in a can and wine on tap.

"It's been a real challenge. Honestly, in the 11 years I've been doing this, this is the worst I've ever seen," said Heritage.

Some of those costs are passed along to the consumer, increasing the price of a bottle of wine.

"I have noticed, yes, but it's OK. It's still an enjoyable product," said Tymeka Hurst, from Berlin, New Jersey.

Heritage said at his Mullica Hill winery he's taking a hit on profitability by trying not to significantly increase prices for customers, while his costs have gone up

"I would normally pay $900 in freight for a truck of glass. We're now paying like $1,800 in freight plus the surprise $500 surcharge on the invoice as well," said Heritage.

Prices have also stacked at Autumn Lake Winery in Williamstown, according to Megan Cosentino, the tasting room manager at Autumn Lake Winery.

"The price of wine has gone up because things like labels have gotten more expensive, things like corks have gotten more expensive," said Cosentino.

A local economist said he doesn't think winemakers will drop their prices, so he recommends customers spring for reusable big bottles.

"Start buying your wine in bulk...use less glass," said Michael Lahr, director of Rutgers Economic Advisory Service.

Many people said they will order less when going out.

"We'll still be out drinking, but you're looking more for quality," said Tiffany Lindabury, of Marlton, New Jersey.

At William Heritage Winery they're trying to get creative by extending hours and bringing local music, to get people out.