The perishable nature of wine is a topic that we think about constantly at VinRoutes. As supply chain geeks first and foremost, we are focused on the journey wine takes once it leaves the winery or production site on its way to the consumer’s glass. It doesn’t take much in the way of a temperature excursion to diminish a wine’s quality. Generously speaking, the ideal temperature envelope is about 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature rises to about 77 degrees F, chemical reactions start to age and degrade the wine in as little as two hours. Meanwhile, colder temperatures are a little tougher on red wines than whites, but potential damage to wine, as well as the corks/bottles, can occur at the lower end of the temperature envelope. Add in variables such as light, vibration and even humidity, and the fragility of wine becomes even more apparent.
Wine expert Robert Parker estimated that 10 to 25 percent of wines imported to the U.S. are damaged by the time they reach the end consumer. Some transportation studies put the figure at 20 percent, on average. What about wine that is transported domestically via truck or rail (sorry, no wine pipelines yet)? How do flexitanks compare to bottled wine during ocean transportation? Why does so much wine continue to be shipped in a dry ocean container versus a reefer container? How can wine supply chain stakeholders, as well as consumers, gain better insight into what’s happening with regards to care and custody during a wine’s journey?
VinRoutes is steadily gathering intel on this topic. We’ve been talking with logistics providers, experts in the packaging and bottling space, and those with cold chain experience to learn more about where the problems lie, and equally important, what solutions and innovations are available now and on the horizon.
Next week, we’re talking with an Israeli IoT start-up that’s using an electronic “chiplet” to track wine conditions at the bottle level. We’ll let you know what we find out. And on April 14, VinRoutes is joining a webinar with De Bortoli Wines, IT Consulting S.A. of Chile, and QAD to discuss ERP solutions for the wine industry. Details coming shortly. Stay tuned.