INDIANAPOLIS – At Easley Winery in downtown Indianapolis, it’s all about the quality.
“We want to make sure that when our customer pops the cork, or twists the cap, that it’s what they’re expecting,” said Meredith Easley, vice president of sales and marketing.
It’s the same mentality that’s made their products, like Reggae Wine, so popular, but these days, it takes a little more to savor the sip.
Easley said it starts in the vineyard.
“With the increase in diesel prices for tractors, as well as labor, the actual pruning and just attending to the vines and the vineyard, those prices have gone up,” she said.
When it comes to actually making the wine, Easley said prices are also increasing from the corks used to even production of glass bottles. In many cases, she said the increases range from 15% to 35% on a monthly basis.
“We may get a notice from a glass company, ‘hey prices are going to go up 20 percent’,” she said. “Making the labels, the corks that come from Portugal, the paper that we get out of Washington, all of those costs have gone up.”
“Since natural gas prices have gone up, the prices to fuel those furnaces to make the glass have gone up,” she added, “and that relates to the crisis in Ukraine and the demand for natural gas and the limited supply.”
Along with that, Easley said they’re also experiencing longer lead times, especially as shortages, on items like label paper, continue.
“Our labels, we used to be able to turn those around in about two months, now it’s taking 120 days,” she said.
Easley said these challenges not only impact Easley Winery but many others throughout the state.
“A lot of companies are struggling to get the products that they normally use,” said Professor Kyle Cattani, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Cattani said the supply chain disruptions have stuck around for the last two years since the pandemic, causing shortages, inflation and backups at distribution ports.
He said it won’t be long for consumers to feel the impact, if they haven’t already, when it comes to their favorite products.
“You can expect to pay more, if there’s a shortage, and the other is you may have to wait,” he said.
Easley said they are cutting corners where they can to hold off on rising prices for consumers. However, as they maintain the quality of their product, higher prices will eventually be part of the plan.
“You might see some packaging changes with the Reggae wines. You will see a price increase,” said Easley.
“Consumers have switched to wanting to embrace the Stelvin, or the twist-off closures, so you will see us changing to that package,” she added. “We’re trying to minimize what doesn’t impact our quality, but perhaps just minimize some of the packaging costs.”