Freight Consolidators

Wines, once released by producers, are trusted to the care of freight consolidators. These professionals may work for the producers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, or retailers.

Wines destined for long distance transport require protection from temperature extremes. Domestic wineries typically employ long distance haulers with access to special temperature controlled trucks.

Transoceanic shipments utilize “reefers”, special temperature controlled cargo containers loaded on steamships. Here there is fodder for advocates of proper wine care.

There are two types of reefers: operating insulated, and non-operating insulated. Shipping is normally paid by the recipient importer/distributor/wholesaler/retailer, and many seek to avoid the additional cost of operating reefers. This is unfortunate, as the cost – a few dollars per case, can be easily absorbed by the storage conscious consumer.

Some merchants trade the risk of temperature damage for a few thousand dollars per container, believing that the consumer will never know the difference. The standard practice is to use insulated containers and restrict shipments to the temperate Spring and Fall months. This practice incurs risk, as placement on the steamship, atypical weather extremes, and dock/labor/customs issues can themselves, or in combination, subject cargo to unacceptable temperature extremes.

Consumers – Ask your retailer which of their imported wines were transported in operating reefers. The answer can be telling.