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National shortage of glass bottles affecting wine supply

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing dozens of supply chain issues, affecting products from wine to cars.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The COVID-19 pandemic has led to shortages in several basic products, from cars to health supplies. Now, it is also affecting some people's favorite drinks.

A shortage of glass bottles has led to a shortage of wine, according to some experts. The impact can be felt across the U.S. and in Tennessee, where some wineries said their sales have dropped due to supply chain issues.

"Normally, we go through about four truckloads of glass per year, but we've only been able to obtain a truck and a half of glass this year," said Yardly Sawyer, the general manager for Cades Cove Cellars in Townsend.

Se said that the company order glass bottles in the summer, but they still don't have a time frame for when they can expect their next set of bottles. She said they order from a company based in Pennsylvania.

Sawyer also said that the shortage isn't just affecting the supply of wine for consumers. It can also affect the company's branding since they usually use a specific kind of bottle.

"One of our more popular wine bottles is the blue glass, for our riesling and we can't color glasses, you can't even find that at all," Sawyer said. "We've had to resort to using clear glass for almost every wine that we bottle now."

She also said that they are keeping their products in-house as a result of the shortage, instead of shipping bottles out to liquor stores to be resold. She says it's the only way they can meet the demand at the winery.

The demand for alcohol generally has stayed at record highs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants rose 24% during the pandemic. Sawyer also said that their sales were up because of the pandemic.

Glass also isn't the only problem the winery faced. Sawyer said that the winery's usually label maker also hasn't been able to get enough paper to continue operating as usual.

"We wanted to come out with some new products, but we can't get the labels in, so we're on hold," she said.

They may not get the labels for their new products until December, according to officials. They are also urging people to buy their favorites as soon as possible since they expect to sell out quickly.