Anatomy of an Import: Product Journey, Buying Habits, and Business Challenges in 2021

This program took viewers through the life cycle of an imported product – from grape to glass. It revealed the often opaque journey an import goes through before it reaches a port. Attendees learned how international supply chain disruptions have impacted the product journey, and why today’s market dynamics make a buyer’s decision more challenging than ever. Panelists offered perspectives on best practices, data insights, and lessons learned in an uncertain year. Viewers walked away with knowledge on how to reach predictable outcomes from unpredictable channels. Recorded on Wednesday, May 20.


Jennifer Engel

Jennifer Engel

WLC Advisory Board Member

SVP National Accounts, On-Premise


Dina Opici

Dina Opici

WLC Advisory Board Member


Opici Family Distributing


Sonia Davenport

Sonia Davenport

Director of Consumer Insights


Allison Leavitt

Allison Leavitt

Managing Director

Wine and Spirits Shippers Association Inc.

Cristina Marinai-May

Cristina Mariani-May


Castello Banfi




  • Plan for longer lead time in purchasing - 90 days for domestics and 120 for imports.

  • Anticipate pricing to reflect sustained increased transportation costs.

  • More surcharges are being put in place for June 2021. You should anticipate another 10-20% on top of the 30-40% you have already added to your freight costs, with highest surcharges for Europe to USA and New Zealand to USA.

  • Expect some schedule improvements in the summer based on calm weather, more port labor from COVID restrictions easing, and new containers gradually being delivered.



  • Stronger communication with supplier partners and shipping companies regarding product timeline is key.

  • Discuss the lead times with import suppliers for dry goods, production times, growing/aging regulations.



  • Educating retail partners about ongoing challenges is key. Everything from hurdles and lag time of products arriving in the market due to consolidation of shipping vessels, container shortage, increased delays at the ports due to labor shortage as well as driver shortage.

  • When presenting to buyers, the most recent trends may not reflect true consumer demand.

    • Consumers will always branch out when additional options are provided

    • Current availability is impacting selection for buyers and consumers



  • For more information about this webinar, contact WSWA Senior Vice President, Member Advocacy Catherine McDaniel at

Jp Morgan Logo

For more than 65 years, J.P. Morgan has provided financing and financial solutions to some of the nation’s most notable manufacturers, wholesalers and importers. As a result, our dedicated J.P. Morgan Beverage Banking team can provide industry insights and comprehensive financial solutions that help you stay competitive and deliver results.


CONTACT: Nataly Marks, Head of Beverage Banking, J.P. Morgan Middle Market Commercial Banking at


365WineTrade by Western Computer is the all-in-one cloud ERP solution that provides a state-of-the-art solution that fits wine and spirits distributor’s specific needs such as regulatory compliance and reporting, automated tax calculations, flexible customer pricing and discounts, sales order management, container import tracking, advanced inventory management, and more. 


CONTACT: Tony Castellano, Director of Sales at


Albatrans is one of the largest global providers of logistics in the beverage alcohol sector and the freight forwarding arm of the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association. Independent, entrepreneurial, reliable, and creative, Albatrans provides detailed care for large and small shippers, from a single bottle to a bulk shipment. Our global logistics network, in-house IT department, local expertise, and proven customer service are the keys to our continued success and to our customer’s satisfaction. Albatrans is proud to support the WSWA Women’s Leadership Council and as a company is committed to true diversity, equality and inclusion, with over 50% of our leadership team and staff represented by women and people of all types of backgrounds and identities. 


CONTACT: Kare Fiorello, Key Account and Pricing Department Manager at


Mintel is the expert in what consumers want and why. As the world’s leading market intelligence agency, our analysis of consumers, markets, new products and competitive landscapes provides a unique perspective on global and local economies. Since 1972, our predictive analytics and expert recommendations have enabled our clients to make better business decisions faster. As a proud sponsor, Mintel has created a download of our newly released report, A YEAR OF INNOVATION IN RTD, WINE & SPIRITS, 2021.


CONTACT: Gina Signorile, Business Development Manager - CPG at


WSSA negotiates shipping contracts for importers, exporters and distributors in the wine and spirits industry. Our dedication to providing efficient and economical transportation by land, sea, or air, enables our members to tap into a marketplace – efficiently and affordably. WSSA has nearly 600 member companies who import and export on the wholesale level from all over the world. Our unique footprint spans across most major countries, and we have partners in the freight forwarding industry strategically placed near the busiest ports to ensure that our members’ shipments are coordinated seamlessly from A-Z.


CONTACT: Heather Randolph, Director of Operations at