Monday, April 20, 2009

Logistics

A lot of what I'd call 'winemaking' is really an exercise in logistic management. You have to bring together a wide range of items at the right place and time.

In a way even harvesting is just a logistics exercise. You have to bring together the people, bins, and trucks, right when the grapes are ripe. Then you have to get them to the winery and make sure you have everything there you need; equipment, storage, barrels, ect.

Stefania is going through a logistics 'hell' right now. It's her first time coordinating all the factors in running a bottling. She's doing it on her own for the first time. Here's the list of vendors to work with on a bottling:

Bottling Truck
Electrician
Delivery/Trucking Company
Glass Company
Foil Supplier
Cork Supplier
Fork Lift Rental
Gas Rental
Lab
Bentonite and Filter Supplier
Graphic Artist
Label Printer

Plus of course there is the TTB to deal with.

We also need to coordinate labor for the day which means 3-4 staff and 2-3 helpers.

Things have to happen in the right order too. The forklift has to show up before the bottles are delivered for instance and all that has to happen before the bottling truck arrives. If the fork lift arrives after the truck is set up, we have no room to drive it down to the pad and the hill is too steep for it to drive up from the bottom of the vineyard. In fact once the forklift goes down from the first driveway, there's no way to get it back up. It has to wait until you are finished and then be driven to the bottom of the vineyard for pick up.

Then around this all the winemaking needs to get done. Sulfur additions made, and the wine prepped in tank before the truck starts. There is always some drama. One time there was an accident on Highway 84 the day before bottling. Somehow the truck with the bottles got through, but the truck with the forklift did not. We had a 28 foot truck with no way to unload it for several hours.

By the time she's done with her checklist of things to remember and things to do and things to order, it will be over 100 items long. From major items like "Order bottles" to minor ones like "Make sure the bond stamp has ink". I'll help where I can, but it's still a lot for one person to pull together.

2 comments:

Stefania said...

You forgot pallet labels and shrink wrap. And snacks...

marc said...

I continue to be impressed. And might I add that it all makes the wine more delicious!