Shipping Wine- What You Need to Know
When we hear you say "Shipping wine" there's a little part of me that becomes happy because that means that our wines were tasty enough for you to want to send those bottles of deliciousness home. When wineries talk wine shipping, there's a hundred or so things firing off in our minds. These include the ship-to state, data entry accuracy and IT issues, packaging, dealing with UPS or Fed Ex, printing labels, assembling the wine, and fair pricing.
The most important issue for the small producers is WEATHER, including seasonal extremes and anomolies that seem to occur more and more often. Having our clients like our wines enough for them to place a shipping order is key (hailing from a sales perspective); however, the actual logistics of getting the correct wine in the box and in the truck for a safe, timely arrival is paramount. It takes from 1 to 6 business days for UPS to reach you and even longer if the wine is shipped "third party." Wine shipped to extremely distant locations like Miami and the upper Northeast will probably sit in a truck or UPS warehouse for a weekend. If that wine experiences freezing Midwest storms or crazy hot southern heat spells, there's a good chance that it will suffer and might not taste the same as you remember it or as the winemaker intended.
Here's the worst case scenario. You open the wine for friends, family or a boss. You take the mic for the 2-minute presentation about how you went to the winery, pet the wine dog, tasted with the winemaker and joined the club and here's the wine that's been resting in your cool, dark cellar since. You pull the cork and WHAM, the cork pushed, it tastes cooked, or just, "off." You look bad, the winery looks worse and no one is happy. The hope for this post is that PATIENCE will ensure when the revisit of your wine country vacation happens. We want to get your wine to you as soon as possible WHEN the weather permits. We watch the weather in your zip code like Luna watches the parking lot for visitors. We're on it. We just need to ensure the weather not just in your specific zip is acceptable but the entire path that wine will take in arriving at your home or business.
When we do begin to process your order, we create a shipping tag and UPS notifies you that a shipment has been created and gives you your tracking number. We strongly encourage you to sign onto UPS and track the status of the package. You'll have a much better idea of where the wine is in the shipping process. Once the label is printed, the UPS page will read "shipment created," but this doesn't mean it has left the winery yet. You'll need to check back and look for "shipped." At that point you'll be able to see where the package is as it moves along the route. You get three chances for UPS to deliver your wine. If you miss all three delivery attempts, it is sent back to the winery and we’re charged for the return trip. Most wineries charge the client to have the wine reshipped. A great way to avoid this is to have us ship to a business address. This way UPS knows there'll be someone 21 years or older to sign for the package. Remember, it may be the nectar, but it's boozy nectar.
When the package does arrive, we recommend allowing the wine to rest in the shipping box in a dark, cool spot for a few weeks. This gives the wine time to settle down and restabilize itself. If you have a wine refrigerator, I'd pull the wine from the box and place immediately inside it.
So the next time you place an order for your favorite small winery's liquid love, please be aware of this: as the farmer in me knows, the weather dictates ALL.
For more info on our small, family winery, check out www.harvestmoonwinery.com