Bracing for a Holy Wine Shortage in Venezuela

Venezuela’s Catholic Church is suffering a wine shortage just as the rest of the country struggles to find basic supplies like toilet paper.

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Leo Ramirez / AFP / Getty Images

A man walks next to empty shelves in a supermarket in Caracas on January 22, 2012.

Soon, there may be nothing to fill your cup with at mass. Venezuela’s Catholic Church is suffering a wine shortage just as the rest of the country struggles to find basic supplies ranging from toilet paper to bread.

The church estimates that it only has enough wine to last for two months. The BBC reports that the Latin American country is facing significant shortages due to tight governmental controls and inadequate domestic production. To make matters worse, importers often can’t buy supplies from abroad because they lack the foreign currency needed to make purchases.

(MORE: Bathroom Blues: Venezuela’s Toilet-Paper Crisis)

There is only one national winemaker in Venezuela, according to Merco Press, and it is running out of the supplies it needs to produce the finished beverage. “[Our supplier] Bodegas Pomar have told us that they can no longer make wine because they’re facing difficulties,” a Church spokesman told BBC News.

The problem isn’t just limited to the wine that is being served at mass. Supplies of consecrated bread are also being affected. Wheat is not grown in the Latin American country and finding flour has also become difficult.

Other daily staples are even running in short supply as well. Milk, sugar, cooking oil and corn flour are some of the more commonly affected items that are becoming more scarce in the Latin American country. The BBC reports that:

According to data from Venezuela’s Central Bank, the scarcity index rose to 21% last month, the highest since the bank started tracking the measure in 2009. This means that out of 100 goods, 21 are not available.

(MORE: Hugo Chavez Calls Out the Food Police)

Officials blame poor land utilization for the problem, but analysts have long attributed the cause to currency controls that restrict the ability to pay for imports. Government price controls are also said to discourage production among Venezuela’s own private sector.

1 comments
StMichael
StMichael

Then it's time to resort to the old fashioned techniques.