From an outsider’s perspective, shipping wine seems like a simple, seamless task. Wine is filled into flexi-tanks, tanktainers or bottles, packed onto pallets, and away it goes in some shipping container to the set destination. Turns out there’s more to shipping wine than you’d expect.

From the farm to the international destination, wine exporters face many obstacles, when is the right time for wine to be sent, how long it will take to reach its destination, and do you have all the needed permits and paperwork in order and signed off.

“Your first step into exporting wine, is ensuring that both yourself, and the buyer has a valid liquor licence. Once this has been established, it gets tricky. Thee are several forms, all very important, that needs to be obtained beforehand, all with their own set of requirements and their own set of processes.” says Annerie Botma, wine Exporter at Pioneer Freight. “The timing in any shipment must be planned precise, one wrong move, or one overlooked step, and the wine shipment can not be sent” she adds.

Shipping wine is a process that needs to be planned perfectly, even considering the time of year, the temperature, handling, as well as when it needs to be consumed. The interesting part of any shipment is the part where things can go a little wrong.

A heated container could lead to either spoiled wine, or wine bottles that would uncork itself, a container that is too cold could change the taste of the wine. Wine that is handled to carelessly and shaken up too much would need to be placed aside to rest for a certain time, as it completely loses its signature taste and smell due to the agitation.

“How a shipment affects the wine is also down to the type of wine being shipped,” says Annerie, “some wines are more delicate and susceptible than others, this must be taken into consideration.”

Fortunately, the benefits of exporting wine far outweigh the stress and errors found along the way. It is always better to partner yourself with a freight forwarder with extensive knowledge in this department, such as Pioneer Freight, to assist with wine exports to ensure a problem and stress-free shipment.