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Shutdown impedes wineries' productivity

Hammondsport, N.Y.- It's not what's on the inside of the bottle, but the outside that is of concern to wineries and breweries. The federal government's partial shutdown has delayed the ability of these businesses to get approvals for labeling new products.

"Right now the TTB website is not available to us to be able to view any prior label approvals," said Christy Dann, Chief Financial Officer for Heron Hill Winery. "We are not able to submit any current label approvals so if we were to submit anything right now, we'd be at a standstill until the government starts back up."

The website Dann referred to is for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. It is among the federal services unavailable during the shutdown. For Heron Hill, the shutdown timing hasn't effected its labeling, but may have an indirect impact on sales.

"I think the most nerve-racking thing we're talking about right now is just how the consumers are feeling and if the consumers are going to have the confidence to come out and buy our products," said Dann.

Winery management is also concerned that a short-term agreement by congressional leaders may only cause more problems early next year.

There are plans to introduce a handful of new wine products next year, said Erin Rafalowski, Sales and Marketing manager for Heron Hill.

"Those wines vary a lot by vintage so that's something we will definitely need to have updated going into next year," said Rafalowski.

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Washington Times