Today we left the class room to visit a large bottling company in the region known as WineWorks. WineWorks is a contract company offering wine bottling and warehousing services for New Zealand wineries. They are deemed as a 3rd party provider of bottling and packaging services. The building boasts 5 bottling lines allowing it to handle a high volume of wine during working hours and there Warehouse capacity of 54,000 pallets. All in all a very impressive operation.
Upon our arrival we were met by Michael Hearn who would be looking after us for the duration of the tour. The tour started with introductory PowerPoint on the logistics and requirements needed to run a large scale bottling operation. An interesting point in this PowerPoint was a map that showed the different routes across the world that the materials were scoured from, for example screwcaps from Australia and other raw materials from China.
From there we were shown around the plant, starting with the outdoor pad where the tankers full with wine are parked up and connected to the numerous set lines which allow the wine to be pumped into the plant. WineWorks does not have any storage tanks at the moment so tankers are the best option at the moment.
After the pad we were taken to the bottling hall where we saw a couple of the bottling lines all going at full swing. Quite a noisy place but interesting none the less, it was quite hard to keep a track of all the bottles are they were moving at such a high speed. The whole operation was immense as the bottles are rinsed, degassed, filled with the allocated wine and then labelled. The labelled bottles are then grouped together and placed into cartons which are then stacked and wrapped. This is all a automated process with very little human intervention save for the refilling of the labelling machine and the placing of dividers in the carton boxes.