Now You Know: Inside Mobile Wine Bottling Trucks

Topic 19065 | Page 1

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The Highlight Reel's Comment
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Wine Bottling Operation

A five minute tour inside a mobile wine bottling rig. Eighty percent of all Virginia wineries use a mobile bottler to bottle their wines.

For those of us who had no Earthly idea that this was going on, many, or even most, winemakers are relying on a specialized industry to handle their bottling needs:

Likely, you’ve never heard of it or seen it because mobile bottling lines move incognito, masterfully disguised as plain old tractor-trailers. Inside, however, these truck drivers have swapped cases of beer or groceries for a complex amalgamation of steel bolts, screws, and conveyor belts, all of which give these movable bottling lines their industry nickname: “Million Dollar Trucks."

Mobile bottlers are a specialty niche industry that come with their own expertise, equipment, and knowledgeable and experienced crew. These crews do most of the bottling for the wine industry, at least on the West Coast and Virginia, because it cuts out the logistical, financial, and training headaches that wineries face in running their own bottling operation. In the ultra-competitive winemaking industry, space is at a premium, especially when you're dealing with an event like bottling that only happens a couple times a year, so the portable outfits make much more sense for them.

Smaller bottlers are using straight trucks fifth-wheel trailers about the size of a medium-sized camper, while some of the larger companies employ fleets of 10-12 or more tractor-trailers, outfitted with equipment mostly imported from Europe. Not only are the bottling lines easily adjusted for changes in bottle sizes, but some bottlers also offer boxed wine packaging options.

“It doesn’t make sense for the wineries to have all this equipment that they’re only going to use two or three times a year,” said Tom Nulman, who owns The Bottle Meister, one of a handful of such operations in San Luis Obispo County. “We can roll up and be done with it in a day.”

And, of course, because California, "wine in a can" is also, oddly enough, an option that is gaining ground for mobile bottling.

External Links:

Your Wine Was Probably Bottled In A Truck

The Bottle Meister keeps the wine flowing for Central Coast wineries

Skip The Bottle, Ditch The Box — Wine In A Can Is About To Break Big

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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