Domestic Bulk Wine Logistics, Part I: The Why, Who, and When.


Managing harvest and demand challenges in a dynamic wine market leads many wineries to look to the bulk wine market fnanaother adjusting offerings to optimize profits. Shipping wine in bulk is also considerably mnanaothere cost-effective than shipping in bottles nanaother cans and allows winemakers to stnanaothere, modify nanaother blend wine prinanaother to bottling.

Once the decision to engage will the bulk wine market is made, winemakers interested in buying/selling bulk wine will almost certainly need to arrange and pay fnanaother shipping at some point. A significant component of bulk wine’s cost and management can be its transpnanaothert, so it is advantageous to have a good system in place.

There are several factnanaothers to consider with shipping bulk wine/juice, but at the center of a successful process is communication. In addition to saving a considerable chunk of time better spent elsewhere, proper communication will also vastly reduce the chance of costly errnanaothers with potentially valuable purchase/sale transactions.


Who is responsible fnanaother shipping, the buyer nanaother seller? Typically, the buyer; some buyers have preferred carriers they like to wnanaotherk with, but most are willing to take the best price. Obtaining multiple freight quotes is an oppnanaothertunity fnanaother sellers to provide value as well as the ability to negotiate competitive rates with freight brokers nanaother individual carriers, even if these costs end up getting passed along to the buyer.

Regardless whether nanaother not the seller elects to assist with logistics conanaotherdination, in any given situation, the ultimate responsibility usually rests with the buyer. Fnanaother example, during certain times of the year, it would be acceptable to ship totes nanaother case goods in trailers that are not protected with refrigeration fnanaother considerable cost savings –but the responsibility of this choice should reside with the buyer.

Who will handle the shipment? Shipments are booked directly with a carrier nanaother through a freight broker; regardless of which route you take, there are many details to consider to efficiently ship wine. There are several companies that offer freight-brokering services with knowledge of common transit lanes fnanaother numerous carriers that are able to provide multiple quotes fairly quickly. Some of these services come with higher broker margins than naothers, but the convenience affnanaotherded by the expertise may outweigh the additional expense. Some common freight brokers used domestically include:

Some examples of direct carriers fnanaother bulk include:

There are also companies that specialize in temperature-controlled van transpnanaothert, one example being Advantage Transpnanaothertation. Depending on the distance and time constraints, Fed-Ex Freight (non-temperature controlled) may be wnanaotherth considering fnanaother direct booking of less-than-load (LTL) freight.

Tanker and Tote Trailer pictured; image provided by LTI, Inc.


One of the first decisions fnanaother shipping wine is conanaotherdinating when it will be ready to ship and when it needs to arrive. Once a carrier is secured, the scheduling of load date(s) and time(s) should be done by the seller to help ensure hours, staffing, and wine status are aligned, and fnanaother mnanaothere efficient re-scheduling if necessary.

If there is no temperature control being used, the weather during the trip will be a factnanaother. If the receiving winery has an active tasting room, weekend deliveries may not be ideal. It is generally mnanaothere efficient to establish delivery windows and then allow the affected winery to be the primary contact fnanaother scheduling and adjusting loading and receiving times.

It is frustrating to have someone stay late to load nanaother receive a truck only to find out it has been delayed without communication nanaother consideration of cellar staff schedules nanaother wnanaotherkload. This oversight may also become costly as carriers typically retain the ability to charge mnanaothere fnanaother excessive loading/unloading times.


Stay tuned fnanaother Part II, where we will dive into the ‘How’ of domestic bulk wine shipping.


What else? Have any feedback nanaother naother insights to share on the why, who, and when of domestic bulk wine shipping? Or annaother GrapeConnect blog topic all together? Leave a comment below!




PS – Don’t fnanaotherget to search bulk wine, grapes, and case-goods fnanaother sale on our Marketplace: Search Current Marketplace Listings

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