What happens after we dispatch?

WineWorks opens multi-million dollar plant in Auckland | Wineworks
bottling line at Wine Works, Marlborough.

Working as a cellar hand in Marlborough, we are no strangers to dispatching wine. And if your company is anything like mine, it generally involves a tanker turning up, filling it, and the wine being taken away to Wine Works for bottling. The next time I see it, it looks completely different-it has been bottled, labelled, packaged and is now ready to be sold.  

But what happens in between these big tankers driving away and a pretty box of wine turning up? Well for many of us, it’s the magic of Wine Works. So, let us take the time to look at who they are and what they do for us.  

We are greeted my Michael Hearn, the logistics manager and he shows us a slide show explaining the how’s, what’s and whys of the business and gives us a brief rundown of how the bottling line operates.  

Wine Works is a contract bottling facility that provides the “infrastructural back end to your winemaking and grape growing skills.” They have 3 operations nationwide, with the Marlborough facility being the largest. It has 5 bottling lines- all which have state of the art technology and equipment to make them run smoothly. On top of bottling the wines, they also sell and provide all the ‘other stuff’: bottles and caps, packaging and labels, storage, and distribution. And it’s just as well, because as Michael says, “Winemaking is the easy part, this is the hard part.” So, you could say their business is allowing us to focus on grape growing, winemaking and marketing while they take care of everything else for us.  

“AT WINEWORKS OUR ENTHUSIASM, EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE MAKE I T EASY FOR YOU.” Wineworks website.  

After our presentation, we are taken to the look at the bottling line via the lab, which I have already seen, because I often drop our samples off here (yet another service they provide).  

We are shown the area where the trucks come in and the wine is sent to line. One of the coolest things I think they do is pumping wine directly to bottling line from neighboring wineries via the use of fixed lines running under the road and remotely controlled pumps. This means the wine can go direct to the bottling line, cutting out the middleman/Tanker, reducing the chance of extra oxygen pick up during dispatch and decreases the tanker traffic on the pad. Win Win.  

The size and activity of the bottling lines blew me away, not to mention the machinery and technology being used. The manpower was minimal for how much was going on. I think I only saw 1-3 people per line, either watching/replacing labels or stacking boxes/packing pallets if they were on the smaller lines that didn’t have a machine doing it. After the wine is bottled and the pallets are packed, they are sent to the warehouse for storage or dispatched to wherever they need to go.  

We then toured the dry goods and wine storage warehouses. The scale is just massive. (It makes me happy to know the largest warehouse in the Southern Hemisphere houses 33,000 pallets of wine). Wine Works is using some very cool technology to run their business as smoothly as possible. In the warehouses, it is the retrieving robots. These robots are programmed and then sent to retrieve pallets of wine, which allows Wine Works to stack more pallets in a smaller space than if they were to use a forklift.  

The coordination (not to mention Health and Safety) of running a company this size, that covers so many different faucets  must be a nightmare, yet WineWorks does it so well. Right from their fleet of 26 tankers picking up your wine, through sterile filtration, bottling, packaging into storage, distribution, lab services and international and nation accreditations/certificates, they do it all to an extremely high standard.  

“Wine works is one of the best run facilities we have audited this year, in fact, probably ever”.  A UK Based Auditor for one of the large retailers- Wine Works Web Site. 

There is so much more I could say here. But for the sake of keeping things short and I sweet, I will wrap it up. If you have any further questions or want to know how wine works can help you, jump online at wineworks.co.nz.  

So, the next time you dispatch a wine for bottling, just think of the fun it’s going to have during its time at WineWorks, and the effort they are putting in to make sure you get back the best product possible.  

References:  

Tom Nowell-Usticke, Managing Director. (n.d) Wineworks web site  

Michael Hearn, production manager (5/11/2020) 

WineWorks web site (n.d) 

Image: Wineworks.co.nz

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