LODI (CBS13) — The government shutdown is causing concern for people in the wine industry as the agency responsible for approving bottle labels remains closed. The labels are needed to sell not only wine but also beer.
At the Jeremy Wine Company, all eyes are on Washington as the government shutdown forces agencies such as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to close. It’s the agency that approves brewery applications, as well as beer and wine labels.
“This year is big growth year for us so we’re looking at those additional markets and we know if the government does not reopen, we’re going to feel some pain,” said owner Jeremy Trettevik.
Without the agency, Lodi wine producers looking for legal approval to sell new products across state lines or launch in a new location have to wait to move forward.
“It’s your brand identity, so labels are important. You can’t sell wine without a label on it. So, it’s critical,” said Stuart Spencer, executive director of the Lodi Grape Commission
The bureau approved close to 200,000 labels last year. It normally takes two weeks for labels to be approved, but with the government shutdown, winemakers say it could be a lot longer.
“If you’re in the middle of a new package design or a change, it could potentially be a problem as you try to get those bottled and label,” he said.
Consumers, they say, would feel most of the impact because wineries wouldn’t be able to offer any new wine.
“Certainly, in the long term, it has such a big impact across the board that impacts our customers buying abilities, it’s huge. So, the benefit is on the government to get that thing solved and get it moving so we can all get back to business,” said Trettevik.
Most wineries in Lodi seek label approval for new products months in advance.