Customer Stories

Bottling Line Stories That May Have Been Avoided By Using WineTracker

All of the following incidents have occurred on several occasions during or just before a bottling. The stories are real situations from many different wineries, both small and large. All of the incidents cost the winery and the bottling line involved money that could have been saved by using WineTracker properly. All examples of money below are bases on a 2500 case day. If the cases per day were to be less these costs would increase.

How many times have I received a call from a winery we were scheduled to do a bottling job for a day or two before the bottling asking me to reschedule the date because labels were not going to be ready for the currently scheduled bottling date? This is a situation that could cost the bottling line thousands of dollars. The now open date may not be able to be filled and as a result the line will be down and not making any money. These lost days can’t be recovered. In some cases the bottling line will charge the winery for the opportunity loss upwards of $3,000 per day. If the bottling can be rescheduled for a later date then there may not be a charge, but if the bottling line is booked the days and future job is lost. This is an extreme case, but it does happen and you will find this type of fee for charges for cancellations in almost every mobile bottling line service agreement/contract.

Another situation with labels that can create cost in the form of downtime and increased labor costs occurs when the labels are ordered to arrive the day before the bottling and the wind of the labels is in error. In some cases this is a miscommunication on the winery’s part or the label company. In any case this error is not often found until the bottler gets the labels and inspects them. The best case fix here is that the bottler or the winery will happen to have a label re-winder and some 3” cores to wind to. But even if this is the case the labels must be rewound and can delay the bottling start. This could cost over the course of a bottling day an additional 30-60 minutes depending on how many rolls exist and how large they are. Do the math on labor and at best you find an additional cost in labor from $0.01-$0.03 per case for just 6-9 laborers at only $8/hr. In some cases the bottling line may charge an additional fee for downtime caused by the winery. I have seen this fee billed at $300/hr. This fee could increase the -small error to an additional $0.06-$0.12 per case.

The situation I run into often is running out of a dry good like glass, cork, capsules or labels. Imagine bottling for an entire day and near the end of the bottling you run out of glass. The line stops and wine is in the system. The scramble begins. The necessary winery staff needs to be informed and decisions must be made. In the meantime the labor costs are increasing per case. One case is that other glass is found and the bottling can continue, but if the glass is a different size there could be a line change and an additional changeover fee may be charged. These range from $100-$300 depending on the time to changeover. Then there is the time to change from 15-90minutes that the labor is standing by and increasing costs. Then there is the possibility of overtime charged by the bottling line that can range from $100hr to $400hr. Now, depending on the dry good that has run out the costs may be less, but in almost every case the package is compromised and is in some way different from the rest of the bottling run. Different cork (blank) or blank capsule. But if labels run out or no glass is to be found the wine may go back to the tank and more costs are paid. Let’s just average the cost of running out of dry goods for the sake of argument to be somewhere between $0.05 and $0.50 per case.

Now let’s look at the most common way wineries deal with a problem like running out of labels or capsules. They run, what we call in the industry, shiners. That is a bottle of wine with just the cork. No cap or label. This is the most costly of way to go, but sometimes it is the only way to deal with the wine. Shiners cost the winery and additional $1.00-$1.85 per case plus labor.

These examples show just some of the ways that a winery can cost the bottling line and the winery additional costs for any given bottling. These costs are not the only ones that exist. Additional costs may include re-filtration of wine, employee resources committed to the solution to these and additional problems caused by delays in getting the wine bottled and shipped on time and so on. I don’t know any winery who actually tracks these additional costs to the bottling. They may just look at them as costs of doing business. What if these costs could be avoided? What if what could be controlled was in control. How much money would the winery save over the course of a year of bottling? WineTracker presents a solution to these problems and can save money, time and stress for less than $0.01 per bottle.

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