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Supply and demand, logistics and transport, feasibility and flexibility – these are all integral components of every business which have been stretched and tested over the past year. No one could have foreseen the challenges we would all face or predict how each and every one of us would be impacted. However, we are literally all in this together and the global network of transportation and supply chains has worked tirelessly to ensure we all understand this unique position we’ve been thrown into and are aware of the plethora of people involved in every stage of production, logistics and retail. Every role is filled by a person in
exactly the same position as us.

One positive to come out of this period of uncertainty and upheaval is that every business has been forced to take time to reflect and reassess. The colossal impact of Covid-19, (hello national lockdowns and the furlough scheme) coupled with the confusion surrounding post-Brexit trading regulations, means we are continuously adapting to a changing environment. The availability of raw materials, such as steel and timber, has fluctuated hugely. The fine balance between stockpiling and physically being able to sell
(and deliver) products has been a juggling act for all.

You only have to glance at the news to hear stories of warehouses being crammed to capacity prior to 31 December 2020 and the chaos that ensued as ports were overrun and delays changed from hours to days. Of course this sparks a degree of concern over how quickly raw materials and products can be brought in to the UK and no doubt there will be longer lead-times than we’ve experienced in previous years. However, we all know the reasons behind this and are united in ensuring the health and safety of all staff across
the world is the number one priority. From a customer and supplier point of view, we simply need to allow a little extra time this year for deliveries and remember to be patient with each other.

Bringing the focus back to viticulture in particular, seasonality is both our blessing and our curse. Who doesn’t love watching the vines begin to awaken, stretch their tendrils and slowly start to bear fruit? We are incredibly lucky to have jobs which are so intrinsically linked to nature and the passing of time. The benefit of this is that we know exactly when we require each product to complete each task throughout the year. There aren’t many industries which can genuinely plan by the calendar.

The flipside of this is that with potentially longer lead-times than usual, if we don’t calculate our demand and place our orders early, we may miss the optimum times to carry out each vineyard task. Something to think about as you finish your pruning and begin to look ahead.

It is undeniable that the past year has been tricky, stressful and confusing, but you can rest assured that Vine-Works will always source and supply the highest quality products and answer any questions you may have. As the days lengthen and the future begins to look a little brighter, remember that we are all doing the best we can.

PUBLISHED IN VINEYARD MAGAZINE – MARCH 2021

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