Logistics of Wine and Fine Beverages

Two words: "fine drink" - what's the first thing to come to your mind? The odds are that wine would be your answer. Globally known and appreciated, fine wine is surprisingly sensitive and needs to be transported and stored with care.

June 4, 2019

What is wine, actually?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced through the partial or total fermentation of grapes. The cultivation of wine grapes is known as viticulture. During fall, grapes are harvested and their colour may range from pale yellow to hearty green to ruby red.

The variety of flavours, with varying degrees of sweetness or dryness as well as alcoholic strength and quality, are controlled basically during fermentation.

Wine is popular all over the world; it is one of the most diverse, complex and nuanced drinks in the world.


Wine production

Wine types are divided into four broad categories and it includes

  • Table wines
  • Sparkling wines
  • Fortified wines
  • Aromatic wines.


Grapes in a vineyard


Table wines include a range of red, white and rose wines. Sparkling wines include champagnes, aromatic wines contain fruits, plants and flowers. Fortified wines are table wines with brandy or other alcohol added.

The process of wine production has remained much the same throughout the ages, but new sophisticated machinery and technology have helped to increase the output of wine. Whether such advances have enhanced the quality of the wine is, however, a subject of debate. These advances include a variety of mechanical harvesters, grape crushers, temperature-controlled tanks and centrifuges.

The procedures involved in creating wine are often times dictated by the grape and the amount and type of wine being produced. The recipes for certain types of wine requires the winemaker to monitor and regulate the amount of yeast, the fermentation process and other steps of the process.

While the manufacturing process is highly automated in medium-to-large-sized wineries, small wineries still use hand-operated presses and store wine in musty cellars.

A universal factor in the production of wine is timing, which includes picking grapes at the right time, monitoring and regulating fermentation and storing the wine long enough.

The winemaking process is divided into four steps

  • Harvesting and crushing grapes
  • Fermentation
  • Ageing the wine
  • Packaging

Transportation

Before arriving at your table, a bottle of wine has travelled extensively, especially if it is an imported wine.

Like in many other business sectors, logistics is a key issue in the wine industry. Wine logistics is both a cost factor and a business challenge and requires well-thought-out organisation, the use of the latest technology, fleet solutions and complex IT systems at every level.

Transportation is essential as wine is no longer only consumed where the base wines are produced. Today, wine is generally bottled in locations other than where it’s distributed. Most wine is consumed in major urban areas and big cities and has to be transported there, to begin with.

If you want to transport wine, it’s a good idea to ensure the bottles are properly packed so that none of the sticks is lost. Bottles can break easily if they are not packed well.

Most of the time, wines travel by sea, and the containers transporting them are supposedly placed under the sea mark of the ship to avoid intense movements in the bottle and to keep them at a cool temperature.

Sometimes, a thermo-kit is added to the container to avoid violent temperature variations when the container is exposed to heat. A few importers even use reefer containers to transport their most delicate and expensive wines. These containers can keep the wine at 15 degrees, but they’re three-to-four times more expensive than a standard container.

Air freight is used only when the wine is urgently needed because it is the most expensive way to ship wines. Besides, there is more risk of thermal shock on arrival.

The quality of storage during transportation depends on multiple factors, including

  • Route
  • Time of the year
  • Mode of transportation
  • Packaging

But the most important factor for the good conservation of wine is the temperature.

The ideal temperature for a container containing wine is between 10 and 20 degrees, with a spread of 5 to 25 degrees still being acceptable. Beyond this range, the wine might be damaged. At less than 8 degrees, the wine is not ageing anymore, but natural corks will shrink, initiating leaking and oxidation. Above 25 degrees, wines will oxidize.


Storing

Wine has been around for thousands of years. From the ancient Romans to modern Americans, this lavish drink is enjoyed worldwide.

We’ve talked about transporting wine, so what do you do when the wine gets to you? How do you properly store it?

Here’s how to properly store a bottle of wine.



1. Keep it in the dark

Store all wines away from light, especially direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures. UV rays can cause a wine to be “light struck” giving them an unpleasant smell.

If you can’t keep a bottle entirely out of the light, keep it lightly wrapped up in a cloth or simply put the bottle inside a box out of the way.

2. Store corked wine bottles on their sides

If they are stored upright for a long amount of time, the corks will dry out, and air will eventually get to the wine, spoiling it.

If you store it label side up, it’ll be easier to spot any sediments that may have formed in the wine over time when you do eventually pick it up.



3. Keep the temperature constant

For extended ageing of wine (over 1 year), refrigeration is a must in most parts of the world, even a below-ground cellar is not cool enough.

  • The temperature in a wine storage area should occur slowly. The greater the changes in temperature a wine suffers, the greater the premature ageing of the wine from over breathing.

4. Don’t move the wine

Always store the wine in such a way that you don’t need to move them in order to reach a bottle to drink. Try not to move a bottle at all once it is stored. Even vibrations from heavy traffic, motors, or generators may negatively affect the wine.

Did you enjoy the post? Take a look at our posts Food Spoilage is a Bigger Problem Than You Think, Four Ways Technology Will Boost Warehouse Efficiency and Cold Chain Technology as well!

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