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Wine, spirits and drinks logistics – A quick guide

This guide and glossary is intended to help you find your way through the maze of terms used in international drinks and beverage business and logistics.

At VinLog, we deeply understand the drinks industry and work to ensure your products receive the attention they deserve throughout the whole supply chain.

The FAQ's and terms from sea freight and wine transport compiled here will give you an overview of the field of beverage logistics.


FAQ wine transport

VinLog offers customised solutions, tailored to each customer, for a sustainable end-to-end service.

For bulk wine, we offer the VinLog Flexitank/Flexibag solution. This is a foldable, easily transported and very resilient ‘bag’ which can be fitted into a standard 20' container and filled with 20,000 to 24,000 lires of liquid. It weighs around 60kg and is suitable for use in temperatures from -20°C to 70°C.

Beverages can either be bottled and packed in crates or transported loose. Therefore, there are different kinds of containers, e.g. standard (20' or 40'), high cube (HC), open top containers or reefer containers. 

VinLog offers a one-stop-shop solution that matches your scope and requirements – no matter the size of your business. We work together with small and medium-sized wineries, importers, distributors and multinational brand owners.

VinLog ensures that your wine arrives in perfect condition. As wine is a "living product", it should be moved under temperature and humidity control, avoiding shocks and vibrations as far as possible.

Here you can find the maximum load capacity per container type (20' or 40' container) and loose vs. palletised loading:

  • 20’ Box loose packing = 13,200 bottles 0,75l = 2,200 cartons à 6 bottles
  • 20’ Box palletised = 9,600 bottles 0,75l = 1,600 cartons à 6 bottles
  • 20’ Reefer Box loose packing = 12,000 bottles 0,75l = 2,000 cartons à 6 bottles
  • 40’ Box loose packing = 18,600 bottles 0,75l = 3,100 cartons à 6 bottles
  • 40’ Box palletised = 18,000 bottles 0,75l = 3,000 cartons à 6 bottles
  • 45’ Box palletised = 19,800 bottles 0,75l = 3,300 cartons à 6 bottles

Roughly 9 to 11 pallets fit in a 20 foot container and 21 to 25 pallets in a 40 foot container.

There are different kinds of containers, e.g. standard (20‘ or 40‘), high cube (HC), open top containers or reefer containers with temperature control.

If the shipment doesn’t fill a full container, Kuehne+Nagel can arrange for shared container space in a multi-shipper consolidation container (LCL/ part load).

From booking to delivery, all transactions can be processed and viewed on our tracking and tracing online portal myKN. Our online service allows you to keep an eye on your shipment. All you need is your reference number, which you will find on all Kuehne+Nagel documents relating to your shipment.

A

The smell of a wine. The term is generally applied to younger wines, while the term "bouquet" is reserved for more aged wines.

B

Traditionally, “bouquet” is used to describe a wine’s aromas when the wine has aged in the bottle and has begun to exhibit secondary notes.

Bulk wine is defined as a wine that is shipped in containers (ISO tanks, Flexitanks, etc.), rather than in bottles or smaller packaging.

C

From full container loads (FCL), VinLog Flexitank/Flexibag, to part loads (LCL) and consolidations, we offer the solution you need. We provide additional special services, like thermoliners and insulation kits, for shipments that need to be dry or temperature-controlled. With our skilled experts handling your paperwork, you don’t have to worry about customs clearance.

Kuehne+Nagel and its in-house broker NACORA developed a customised Cargo Insurance solution. It offers a unique protection against perils of transport to  your sensitive commodities.

An individual or legal entity that carries the cargo, e.g. shipping line, airlines, truck company, railroad companies, etc. We have partnerships with all global carrier alliances and further regional carriers.  Depending on the route, there are different carriers to choose from. Our experts can advise accordingly.

E

Estate-bottled is a wine label term which classically means that the grapes for the wine in the bottle were grown on the property of those that bottled the wine (and raised, tended, and picked the grapes, as well). 

F

The term "full container load" refers to containers that are transported as a whole and sealed for a specific client. This does not necessarily mean that the container must be completely full.

They are one of the most effective transportation methods for bulk cargo, especially designed for the transport of liquid food, e.g. alcohols, fruit juices, edible oils.

It is a "travel agency" for goods or the architect of the supply chain. With Kuehne+Nagel's global network in our back, we arrange door-to-door transports by truck, rail, inland waterways, air and - especially for wine - by sea freight. Other services include warehousing and distribution, customs clearance and transport insurance.

L

Less-than-container load (LCL) is a shipment that is not large enough to fill a standard cargo container.  As such, it is also used as a general reference for identifying cargo in any quantity intended for carriage in a container, where the carrier is responsible for packing and/or unpacking the container. For operational purposes, a LCL container is considered a container in which multiple consignments or parts thereof are shipped.

O

VinLog offers seamless door-to-door transportation. Our operations services provide complete visibility from the source
to the final destination, including transport, warehousing and last-mile delivery. 

P

Port where the cargo is discharged from the sea going vessel.

Port where the cargo is loaded on board the sea going vessel.

Q

Free offer to sell goods at a stated price and under specified conditions.

R

Thermal container with refrigerating appliances (mechanical compressor unit, absorption unit, etc.) to control the temperature of cargo. 

S

We offer you the possibility of shipping drinks in the most environmentally friendly way. Depending on your prefered mode of transport, you have different sustainable options to choose from. We are happy to help you to optimise your supply chain in terms of CO2 emissions.

T

To have fully control over your shipments, you can track them on our digital platfrom myKN.

Transit time is the interval needed for a shipment to be delivered once it has been picked up from the point of departure. If you want to compare transit times, just use the seaexplorer platform to find routing details including live vessel positions and announced port-to-port transit times.

V

The VinLog tank has been specially designed for wine and manufactured for VinLog. With its multi-layer design, it protects the wine from the ingress of oxygen and other airborne contaminants, as well as from stress cracking.

W

VinLog knows and understands the wine industry and drinks logistics. With our 55 dedicated wine and spirit experts in 14 key countries and Kuehne+Nagel's global network we offer cutomised solutions for your supply chain.