January 21, 2022
Wine & Spirits SmartBrief
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Top Wine & Spirits News
Travel restrictions in 2020 and other recent challenges have exacerbated the chronic labor problem in the wine industry, where workers have been leaving in favor of service, construction and delivery jobs for the past 10 years. Vintners are wooing workers with higher wages, free English classes, and help with housing, schools and legal systems; meanwhile, they're testing mechanical harvesting and pruning, driverless tractors and other vehicles, and drones.
Full Story: Wine Spectator (1/20) 
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The owner of Duckhorn and Decoy wine brands has acquired 50 acres across three Napa Valley vineyards, including Stanly Ranch and Red Wing Vineyard. Duckhorn Portfolio has also entered a long-term lease with Alton Family Vineyard.
Full Story: North Bay Business Journal (Santa Rosa, Calif.) (1/20) 
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Industry trends
Top-dollar Burgundy dominated auction site's 2021 ranking
(Pixabay)
A dramatic rise in spending on Burgundy in 2021 bodes well for its continued popularity in the near future, according to iDealwine. The global fine wine auction site revealed that all but one of the top 50 most expensive bottles auctioned in 2021 originated from the French wine region, due partially to Burgundy's rising prices.
Full Story: The Drinks Business online (U.K.) (1/17) 
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Sicily's diverse climates, mix of soils and 70 native grape varieties plus its island ventilation and high elevations all contribute to its status as Italy's leading wine region, beating out Tuscany and Piemonte in terms of production. "The territory can't help but produce works of art," said Diego Cusumano of Sicilian winery Cusumano.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/18) 
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Laws & Regulations
US and UK governments have agreed to talks that could lift 25% tariffs on American whiskey, among other products. Between 2018, when the tariffs began, and 2020, US whiskey exports to the UK dropped 53%.
Full Story: The Spirits Business (U.K.) (1/21),  Reuters (1/21) 
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    Leadership & Logistics
    Ideation is better than rehashing old ideas, but your new plans had better "solve new problems for your customers," writes Mike Shipulski. Old ideas and position-defending efforts also leave you vulnerable to upstarts that "create whole new technologies from scratch (new ideas on a grand scale) and pull the rug out from under you," Shipulski writes.
    Full Story: Shipulski on Design (1/19) 
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    Logistics companies ArcBest and NFI Industries are rolling out thousands of remote-operated forklifts that use Phantom Auto's teleoperation software. The forklifts could help address labor shortages at warehouses by making it possible for forklift operators to work off-site.
    Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (1/19) 
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    Editor's Note
    About the editor
    About the editor
    Amy Sung is the director of content for food and travel at SmartBrief, where she manages both editorial content and content marketing spanning the foodservice, food retail and consumer packaged goods industries, as well as the travel and hospitality industries. If you like Wine & Spirits SmartBrief, hate it or want to submit a story, shoot me an email.
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    No human being can possibly predict the future, let alone control it.
    Peter Drucker,
    management consultant, educator, writer
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