Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

Wine Spectator: Who Will Pick America’s Wine Grapes?

January 21, 2022

The national labor crunch is being felt across California’s $43.6 billion wine industry. “Transportation was our biggest challenge this year; we somehow managed to get fruit picked, but we couldn’t get it hauled,” said Bob Torkelson, president and COO of Trinchero Family Estates, one of California’s largest wine companies, farming over 10,000 acres of vines. “The last few harvests have seen the perfect storm.”

Fires and other weather challenges have shrunk grape-picking windows and seasonal workers couldn’t travel from the Southern Hemisphere due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic. But these challenges have merely exacerbated a chronic labor problem that has been worsening for more than a decade: Workers are leaving the wine industry for good. Wine Spectator has the full story.—Kristen Bieler

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