Getting glass bottles into the hands of winemakers continues to be a challenge in 2008. Some believe the process has improved since last year, when demand outstripped supply, while others primarily exasperated smaller wineries maintain that little has changed.
In 2007, manufacturers, distributors and wineries weighed in with WBM on the reasons why securing wine bottles had become so difficult (see “The Changing Glass Market,” August 2007). Many felt the growing demand for bottles, coupled with their decreased capacity, was due to a confluence of consolidation within the glass industry, fast-rising fuel and energy costs and the fact that more wineries exist now than ever before.
This year we’ll hear once again from wineries, distributors and manufacturers about capacity and lead time issues, newer markets from which to source, the current cost of glass and what the wine industry can look forward to, at least in the immediate future, related to glass supply.
“2007 was a very bad year for winery bottle purchasing; 2008 has been much better,” said Erica Harrop, president of Global Package LLC, a distributor of high-end bottles. She indicated this shift was due to wineries being better organized, consolidation in the industry and greater availability of glass through new world markets.
“There is a real evolution happening in the glass industry. It’s really starting to take shape,” said Harrop. While there is still a shortage of capacity, she feels that things are firming up as everyone changes their philosophy and finds their market. “I think in the future, there will always be a few major players, but we will see less prejudice against offshore products,” she said.
Harrop of Global Package also feels that the purchasing of wine bottles will continue to move away from just satisfying a need and move toward creative packaging. “In 12 months the glass shortage will be less of a conversation,” she said. “People will be saying: ‘I’m no longer worried about getting my bottles but how can I differentiate?’”
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