I worked at a winery during my college years. Talking about wine with visitors is a lot of fun and the winery had visitors from all over the world. Often, when they wanted to buy wine they’d ask how it well it ships. Can it get too hot? Too Cold? Does it spoil?
Recently I came across two articles relating to wine shipments and quality. An article in RFID Journal discusses a GS1 study done last year (with results published this year) involving wine being shipped from Italy to Hong Kong. The purpose of this test was primarily to improve supply chain operations and determine how well imported products could be monitored using an RFID solution to track the bottles from when they were shipped from the wine producer until they left the local importer, en route to the wine shops in Hong Kong. As a fringe benefit though, the GS1 study also included Intelleflex temperature monitoring tags to see if the wines were exposed to extreme temperatures on their voyage from Europe to Asia. (Freezing or baking wine during shipment, um, not so good.)
According to the article: GS1 Italy determined that the accuracy of supply chain data could be increased from 80 percent (when orders were filled according to a purchase order) to 100 percent, and that logistics management could be improved based on having better knowledge of products’ locations….the technology proved that retailers in Hong Kong can “achieve full visibility of the whole movement of the wine products, from oversea vineyard to their storage destination, which eventually improved their inventory management and quality assurance. In the future, the technology could help retailers predict overstock or out-of-stock events, and provide consumers with quality assurance in stores, by reading a label’s tag in order to access data regarding when and where wine was bottled, as well as the temperature at which it was stored.
Another story discusses a company called Vinfolio that is using temperature monitors (the article doesn’t say if they’re RFID-based) to test temperatures of wine as it is being shipped around the country in trucks and airplanes. Their conclusion thus far is that, using proper packaging, your wine is probably safe. Phew. That’s a relief but, if you’re shipping high value temperature sensitive products, you’ll want to be sure about their condition in transit and take care to identify problems before they occur. RFID is now a part of that solution for temperature sensitive goods from produce to florals to pharmaceuticals and even to things like wine or chocolate.
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Bonus Question: Where is the worst place in your home to store your wine? (Clue: it’s often the place that most people store their wine!) Email me with your answers!