The fine art of wine storage

Food & Drinks Business Magazine - ARTISAN WINE STORAGE recently unveiled a $2 million facility dedicated to the proper care and management of wine in Sydney’s Lane Cove.

The company said its new climate-controlled warehouse is the only facility in the southern hemisphere that offers a constant 12°C. It also has 55 to 75 per cent relative humidity to optimise the climate for wine.

Light, humidity and fluctuating temperatures can affect a wine’s longevity, with heat prematurely ageing wine and oxidisation occurring as a result of a lack of moisture in the cork. The facility has been specially designed to counteract these elements, providing storage that is at an ideal and constant temperature and humidity and is free from UV light and vibration, the company says.

Artisan Wine Storage was built to cater to overseas wineries, wholesalers, retailers, auction houses and liquidators as well as private collectors. It o¬ffers a fully managed wine storage service for companies and collectors, pickup and delivery, and it also o¬ffers a fully integrated third-party logistics service from warehousing to full supply chain management.

Artisan says it is the first storage facility in Australia designed to exceed the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) standards, an internationally recognised code of practice that certifies good wine storage management in key areas of temperature, humidity, light, vibration, insurance, hygiene, inventory management, security and maintenance.

Founder and CEO Eamonn Egan says he chose 12°C for the warehouse because of the effects of the GFC on wine sales over the past six years. Because less wine was exported, especially to the US, vintage wines have instead been sitting in wineries in 16-18°C or even higher conditions.

“If they don’t slow down the maturation process they run the risk of not being able to sell the wine at a premium,” Egan says.

“Proper wine storage is imperative to maintaining the integrity of the product and can even increase the clients’ return. We have $22 bottles of 2002 wines currently in storage that the winery expected to last only five to eight years, but after 10 to 12 years they’re still drinking beautifully.

The Penfolds Grange collection in Artisan’s Methuselah’s Cellar.“If that happened to be Penfolds Grange, we can effectively add 15 years of life to the bottle; it’s a fantastic result for the owner of those products. Essentially, we can elongate the lifecycle curve by slowing down the maturation process.”

It has also established a network of sales channel partners which provides trade clients the ability to sell wine online direct to consumers out of its premises.

Egan says trade clients don’t want stock sitting in a warehouse without the ability for it to be simultaneously listed for sale, so Artisan is providing the capacity for its business clients to sell their product through its vertical sales channel partners, facilitating a direct to consumer marketplace.

Artisan Wine Storage also uses cloud-based wine management technology which enables it to manage its inventory online. The software developed by Wine in Cloud Software Solutions is a subscription-based product for collecting and reporting on wine.

“The wine management portal enables the user to almost touch their wine in the warehouse, and provides a sophisticated and innovative solution for ‘virtually’ managing your wine collection online,” Egan says.

The facility also includes a wine-tasting lounge and Methuselah’s Cellar, an entertaining space that displays museum wines from many renowned wineries.