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Wine Logistics – All Bottled Up

Bremer Weinkolleg imports wines from all over the world for its mail order business in Germany. The complete shipping package from customs clearance to tracking is provided by DB SCHENKERbeverages.

Long gone are the days when Bremenʼs wine merchants stood on watch towers with telescopes to keep a lookout for ships carrying their precious cargo. On account of its port, the Hanseatic city might still be one of the most important wine cities in Europe, but Kristin Leinemann need look no further than her computer monitor to check the current position of the freighters coming in from overseas. The various tracking services offered by DB SCHENKERbeverages enable the oenophile from Bremer Weinkolleg to see with just one click whether the pallet of South African “Le Sommet Reserve,” 2003 vintage, has already arrived at the port. From there, this fine wine is transported to Weinkollegʼs central warehouse in Meckenheim near Bonn. Kristin Leinemann

Kristin Leinemann, Bremer Weinkolleg

Bremer Weinkolleg, a subsidiary of the renowned Bremen based wine merchant Segnitz, began specializing in the import of wine for consumers in 1970. Its customers now order the  exclusive wines primarily via the internet – either by the crate load or as individual bottles. The consignments are commissioned and dispatched from the central warehouse in Meckenheim. Ever since the company was founded, the close partnership between the wine experts from Bremer Weinkolleg and the transport specialists at DB Schenker has ensured that the warehouse is always stocked with the finest wines from around the world.

Kristin Leinemann und Heinz-Josef KlaerenWine tasting at Bremer Weinkolleg

“Itʼs our job to compile a top-quality mosaic of premium wines from all wine-growing regions,” says Leinemann. “We want to offer a comprehensive range of wines – from venerable Grand Crus, which can cost up to several thousand euros per bottle, up to newcomers from South Africa. To do so, we draw on our contacts from over the world and our decades of experience.” One of these newcomers is the South African vineyard Mont du Toit, founded by Stephan du Toit and his German wife Carolina. They cultivate some of South Africaʼs best red wines on an area of nearly 30 hectares. Their winery in Wellington is situated picturesquely at the foot of the Hawequa mountains, bordering the Paarl district in the coastal region to the north of Cape Town.

Decades of experience 

“When we order wine from Mont du Toit, the three team members at DB SCHENKERbeverages in Cape Town receive an email from our SAP system and take care of the rest. That frees up time so we can focus on wine procurement,” Leinemann explains.

“Once the order has been placed, we collect the pallets from the vineyards,” says Tina Kruse, Head of Tradelane Management Europe Central responsible for DB SCHENKERbeverages, describing the next steps in the process. A consolidated container at the port stands ready to be loaded with the various wines. This container is then placed aboard one of the ships operating on the weekly route from Cape Town to Hamburg. A 20-foot container can hold 13,200 bottles, whereas weight restrictions limit the capacity in a 40-foot container to 18,600 bottles. In the case of buyers consolidation, the buyer compiles the goods himself, and DB Schenker does the rest: stowing the bottles in the transport box and then the container, documentation, export customs clearance as well as export declaration with the South African Department of Agriculture. And finally, transporting the shipment from Hamburg to the warehouse in Meckenheim by inland waterway, rail or truck. DB SCHENKERbeverages also offers to handle all customs clearance procedures in Germany, but in this case, Bremer Weinkolleg takes care of it themselves.

Tina Kruse

Tina Kruse, Head of Tradelane Management Europe Central

In addition to the standard modules transport, documentation and customs clearance, DB SCHENKERbeverages also enables Bremer Weinkolleg to significantly increase its transport quality with a variety of services. Containers imported from overseas are especially exposed to extreme climatic conditions. “Itʼs not uncommon to see sudden fluctuations in temperature of 20 degrees Celsius within 24 hours,” says Kruse. “In our experience this poses the greatest threat to the quality of the wine, which is why we often use containers with active temperature control, special thermal hoods for pallets or special linings for entire containers when working on behalf of Bremer Weinkolleg.” 

Tracking systems like the DB SCHENKERsmartbox, which records and transmits parameters such as position as well as numerous other data, provide customers with constant transparency. In the event that a ship is delayed, this information gives DB Schenker the chance to select alternative transport routes in good time and in consultation with the experts at Bremer Weinkolleg so that delivery deadlines can still be met – even if this involves sending the consignment by airfreight in particular circumstances. “These transport solutions contribute significantly to the quality of our premium wines,” says Leinemann, extolling the virtues of this successful partnership.




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