I attended the Vineyard Economics Symposium a couple weeks ago. I really enjoy going to conferences like this. I learn so much and I end up meeting some great people.
The biggest takeaway for me was the topic of labor. Or lack thereof.
I did a little more research and I came a cross this article from Mike Veseth at The Wine Economist titled “The American Wine Industry’s Achilles Heel: Labor”.
People are the wine industry’s strength, but they are also its Achilles heel and finding ways to adapt to a world with changing labor market conditions is perhaps wine’s greatest current challenge.
Wow, I knew there was something about labor being at a premium, but I didn’t realize to what extent. Interesting.
The conference and Mr. Veseth’s article really got me thinking about how vinoEZ could help (I did a quick post on LinkedIn about this). vinoEZ is a winery operations planning and scheduling tool that covers harvest scheduling through to preparing blends for bottling. Currently, it doesn’t plan the work required in the vineyard prior to harvest or after harvest. It probably should. Easier said than done, but with a scarce resource like labor becoming more scarce, good planning can really help. Even with the more automated/mechanical resources coming online to help fill in the labor void, planning and scheduling is still as important.
Not sure what we’ll come up with, but I do know that we need to go talk to our clients and figure out the true needs and work out the best approach.