Major Shortages Puts a Damper on the Holidays…Turkey and Wine are at the Top of the List

Elena Schweitzer /
Elena Schweitzer /

We’ve all been to the grocery stores and been disappointed by what is (or rather, what isn’t) on the shelves. We’ve seen shortages in almost everything at one point or another throughout the pandemic – frozen veggies, boxes of pasta, and of course, toilet paper.

When you look at the number of shipping containers still sitting on ships in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s easy to see that supply chains are still broken – and they will be for the considerable future.

However, we’re about to see shortages in two items that are critical to the holiday season: turkey and wine.

People are rushing to figure out what they’re going to serve on Christmas and New Year’s if they can’t get their hands on a fat bird. And as for dealing with all of the in-laws and screaming kids, well, wine seems to be essential to everyone’s sanity.

There are reasons why everyone around the world is experiencing shortages, and it’s not just because of all the shipping containers looking to get into the LA ports, either.

There have been floods in British Columbia.

There have been staffing problems in stores.

There have even been shortages in major industries (like the slaughterhouses responsible for taking care of the turkeys)

In Canada, many are finding that they are being told to pick a different holiday dinner entirely. Manitoba Turkey Producers, the organization responsible for managing turkey farmers for the province, explained that they reduced supply once demand dropped.

It’s the same in the U.S. People listened to Dr. Fauci when he said to limit the size of family gatherings once again – and it caused many in the turkey industry to assume that supply wasn’t needed. It’s led to way too much demand and not near enough supply.

As for the wine, think about how the wine from Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and France generally enters the country. That’s right, they’re carried over in shipping containers. That means that the Australian Shiraz you want to toast Christmas dinner to may not make it to your table in time. And the French champagne that you want to ring in the New Year’s with, well, that might be sitting out on the Pacific.

Aged wine is a good thing, right? Sure, but how many liquor stores are going to have to show off empty shelves as more and more people rush out to get their holiday spirits?

Don’t assume that buying local is the best answer, either. USA Today identified it as the “Perfect storm” for wineries since there’s also a bottle shortage. So, the wine that they’ve had curing in their oak barrels, ready for you to enjoy, is going to sit for a little while longer as they wait for enough bottles to finish the process and get it out to eager customers.

Phil Long, the owner of Longevity Wines in Livermore, CA expressed the concern about keeping the wine in oak barrels for too long. He says that the flavor tends to be smothered so that it’s like “drinking a sawmill.”

While oaky wines can be delicious, we have to draw the line somewhere.

We turn to the Biden administration to make things better. Please, give us some turkeys for our dinner tables. Please, let us fill our glasses with wine to enjoy the company of extended family a bit more.

Oh, wait, the Biden administration doesn’t care about us. Perhaps they’ll come up with a few more mandates so that we turn to the ways of the prohibition era by the time 2022 rolls around.