Logistics for sparkling drops

What the wine and spirits industry requires is customized logistics solutions. From its locations in Nuremberg, Germany and Hörsching, Austria, DACHSER supplies retailers, restaurants, and events with premium products by Moët Hennessy. The company also provides a comprehensive range of value-added services for all aspects of the champagne and fine spirits business.

Wine and spirits logistics with Moët Hennessy at the highest level.
Wine and spirits logistics with Moët Hennessy at the highest level.

Champagne is something special—including when it comes to delivery. Munich’s chic P1 club makes its home at the back of Haus der Kunst, an art museum. Every week, dozens of bottles change hands over the counter. However, truck deliveries are impossible. “There’s no loading bay, so we bring the champagne in smaller vehicles,” explains Stefan Käufer, Key Account Manager, DACHSER Food Logistics. Deliveries to Hotel Adlon, one of the most distinguished addresses in Berlin, present a similar challenge. The usual spot for handing over a delivery to the hotel would be through the first door at street level, but if it’s locked, freight forwarders are not permitted to simply leave valuable goods in front of it. “Instead, we load the bottles onto a lift-truck, take them to the underground garage, and from there to the storeroom,” Käufer says.

Logistics solutions from a single source

Each year for Moët Hennessy Germany, DACHSER transports nearly 30,000 pallets of Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Pérignon as well as Hennessy cognac and more from a suburb of Reims, France to Nuremberg. There, in the central warehouse for Germany, the fine beverages occupy up to 6,000 pallet spaces. For distribution in Austria, the logistics provider has another 1,500 spaces in Hörsching (near Linz). DACHSER locations deliver these products not only to hotels and dining establishments, but also to catering companies, shipping lines, and retailers. The supplier notifications and orders are fed in via the EDI interface and processed electronically until delivery.

"From the vineyard to the shelf—this is our claim. As a one-stop shop, we offer a wide range of services for the wine and spirits sector." Alfred Miller, Managing Director DACHSER Food Logistics

“We’ve been continuously expanding our business in wine and spirits logistics for several years now. Across the whole DACHSER network today, some 10 percent of all our pallet spaces worldwide accommodate goods for this industry,” explains Alfred Miller, Managing Director, DACHSER Food Logistics. “From the vineyard to the shelf—this is our claim. As a one-stop shop, we offer the sector a wide range of services. These include transport solutions around the world through our strong European transport network, air and sea freight, comprehensive and integrated warehouse solutions, warehouses in Europe specially designed for storing alcoholic products, and additional logistics services. The latter covers display-builds, the full spectrum of packaging and point-of-sale services, plus complete excise tax handling.” 

That is why, in addition to its picking services for retailers, the Nuremberg branch has plenty of space devoted to finishing operations for special gift shipments. With goods values reaching into four digits per bottle, anyone handling these products needs a careful eye, a steady grip, and to take sensible safety precautions. “Care in handling our products along with the flexibility for the various special campaigns we run are key requirements a logistics partner of ours has to fulfill. We feel that DACHSER takes good care of us in this regard,” says Piotr Majchrzak, CFO of Moët Hennessy Germany. Employees wear cloth gloves to pack gifts for special occasions. “The workers in the warehouse check to see that the label is positioned correctly on the bottle and that the packaging is absolutely pristine,” says Michael Scheid, General Manager, DACHSER Food Logistics in Nuremberg. If no fault is found, the gift sets are rounded off with a customized message or word of congratulations and sent off by parcel service.

Tailor-made logistics solutions are in demand for the wine and spirits industry.
Tailor-made logistics solutions are in demand for the wine and spirits industry.

From the Opera Ball to Oktoberfest

In addition to individual gift packaging, DACHSER ships all kinds of massive display-builds as a value-added service. The company transported some 5,800 displays plus additional advertising material to retail outlets in 2019. That may include (as it does at the moment) a Vespa moped or a rickshaw, both of which are currently being used in Metro and Edeka grocery stores. Moët Hennessy Germany products also feature at many high-profile events, among them Dresden’s Semper Opera Ball, Gallery Weekend Berlin, and Munich’s Oktoberfest. 

For such occasions, the DACHSER warehouse in Nuremberg sends glasses, coolers, flags, and displays along with the bottles. “We purchased an industrial dishwasher for the glasses,” Scheid says, since the trays of used glasses go back to Nuremberg after the events. There they are washed, damaged ones are removed, and the remaining ones are stored away again—all ready for the next celebration.    

For festive occasions, DACHSER offers a further custom service: at the Hörsching location in Austria, bottles are individually engraved with the customer’s chosen design right there in the warehouse. A laser engraving machine can permanently inscribe names or congratulations on the containers for these high-quality beverages in just minutes. These bespoke products may be presented to, say, guests at a major sporting event—like the Hahnenkammrennen in Kitzbühel, a famous ski race in the Alps.

Should a bottle of champagne or spirits break while DACHSER is performing one of these tailored services, the bottle neck is placed along with the cork and its wire cage in a closed receptacle and documented. The reason for this has to do with taxation of sparkling wine and spirits. Moët Hennessy has commissioned DACHSER to handle this aspect of the business, too. Here’s how: it starts with what’s called an excise tax warehouse, which DACHSER operates for its customer. The bottles are taken from France—exempt from excise tax—and brought to Germany and stored. The tax is not due until they are transported to the consumer. “Customs officials come by at regular intervals to check on the number of bottle necks,” Käufer says. Once customs has given the green light, Moët Hennessy is exempt from paying excise tax on the broken bottles.

"Contract logistics is all about integrated solutions"

Wine and spirits is not the only sector where warehousing and individual value-added services are in demand. Interview with Alexander Tonn, Corporate Director Corporate Contract Logistics at DACHSER. 

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