The wine market in turmoil. The Corona pandemic made exporting wine difficult to achieve. Aeroplanes were grounded and sea freight containers were left unloaded. For a short time, even the wine trade between European neighbors came to a halt. Closed bars and restaurants meant that wine was consumed less in countries that depend on tourism. Finally, the buying behaviour of many consumers changed too.
Yvonne Mayer, Teamleader Ocean Beverages DB Schenker
“Wine logistics is a year-round business across all climate zones. Wine is harvested all year long.”
However, this has had little effect on logistics for wines and spirits from overseas, says Yvonne Mayer, Team Leader Ocean Beverages. She is responsible for the logistics of wines in the sea freight sector. DB Schenker has been providing this vital service for international clients from the retail and catering sectors for many years. With a permanent team of Ocean Freight employees, the logistics company manages wine and spirits deliveries from Koblenz. The major German wine-growing regions along the Ahr, Main, Moselle and Rhine rivers are located within a one-hundred-kilometer radius of this spot.
Wines from all over the world
“Wine logistics is a year-round business across all climate zones. Wine is harvested all year long,” says Mayer. DB Schenker imports 1,200 TEU containers per year by sea. Wholesalers and retailers, medium-sized catering businesses, contract bottlers and wine shops – from the convenience store around the corner to the high-priced luxury boutique – import the goods from Australia and New Zealand, America and South Africa. Wines from Europe, on the other hand, reach the customer by land. DB Schenker’s logistics experts in Bingen and Saarland are tasked with this.
In recent months Mayer has been noticing shifts in the market. Retailers are increasingly selling regional or local products. Customers are making more conscious purchases as they become more aware of the wines’ background.
Germany is a wine country
However, not much has changed in wine consumption so far. Germany is a wine country. According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, Germans consume about 20 million hectoliters per year. That equates to about 29 liters of wine and sparkling wine per capita per year, by those over the age of 16. This puts Germany far behind Portugal (per capita consumption is around 58.8 liters) and France (50.7 liters), but far ahead of countries like China – with around 1.5 liters per capita, wine consumption there is still very manageable.
The processes in wine logistics are also unchanged, whether in standard transports of bottled wine or bulk transports in special containers. 24,000 liters of wine fit into Flexibag containers.
Wine requires a lot of care
Wines require special attention from the logistics provider. Beverages originating from New Zealand, for example, pass through six climate zones before reaching their destination in Europe. Careful planning must cushion the external influences. “We pay attention to the special stowage position on ships,” says Mayer. “Wine, for example, cannot tolerate heat sources nearby. So, we tell the shipping company where we would like to have it stowed.” Wine is usually transported on direct routes to avoid transshipments and waiting times in ports.
“Corona pandemic and wines: the purchasing behavior of many consumers has changed. Insights from Yvonne Mayer, Team Leader Ocean Beverages at DB Schenker. #DB Schenker“Tweet WhatsApp
Once in Europe, DB Schenker uses all modes of transport. The role of rail and inland waterways is also growing. “With wine, the sustainability of the transport chain is becoming increasingly important,” says Mayer. “This is also a very discreet business and thrives on intensive client loyalty. Security, trust and experience mean a lot in wine logistics.”
The personal bond counts
Mayer has been helping to build up this trust and personal relationship with many DB Schenker clients over a number of years. In 2012, what was then the second DB Schenker team in Hamburg was merged with the team in Koblenz. She has been head of the Ocean Beverage division since 2015. She now enjoys her journeys through the world of wine – virtually, at least. “We’ll go around the globe once: We start with Australia in the morning and we end the day with North America in the evening.”
Teamleader Ocean Beverages
Schenker Deutschland AG