Measuring Variability in Temperature Along International Supply Chains for Wine

Tracking international wine shipments


We are in the midst of a long-term project to measure and document the variability of temperature within cartons of wine along international supply chains.

We are in the midst of a long-term project to measure and document the variability of temperature within cartons of wine along international supply chains. We have put together a network of colleagues around the world, from major wine-producing regions to centers of consumption. Colleagues are inserting temperature-recording devices in cartons of wine at points of production (initially in Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa). After the cartons have arrived at the destinations, we retrieve the devices and download the temperature histories, which have been recorded at 2 hour intervals. We then correlate time with location by interpolating scanning data collected along each supply chain and, by this, try to understand causes of variations in temperature. In addition we document variations in transit times. We then share the history of measurements with all supporters of the project, and will soon begin to issue reports to the general community.

Map of the world showing distrubtion routes

Some of the routes along which we are tracking shipments. Red circles indicate transshipment points.


What makes this project unique


Others have measured the effects of temperature on the quality of wine, but this project seems to be unique in scale, scope, and duration. First we have been tracking wine shipments for more than two years, so that we can observe the full effects of seasonality. Furthermore, we are tracking product from multiple wineries, through multiple shipping lanes, carriers, ports, importers, an distributors. In Phase 1 of the project, we are tracking the wine only as far as the importer; in Phase 2, we are beginning to track the wine past the distributor and all the way to the final customer (or to whomever opens the carton), so that we see the entire supply chain.
wine tracking


The Wine Supply Chain Council acts as a neutral third party to retrieve and manage the data, which shall be shared with all participants in the project. Each participant will see his own raw data but only the aggregated, anonymous data of others. The Wine Supply Chain Council will work with participants to help them interpret the results.

We shall also release reports discussing aggregate results.


Future plans

Initially we are documenting supply chains from wineries in Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa to the US. We are now expanding to include markets in the UK, Japan, and Singapore and wine producers in Italy, France, Spain, and elsewhere. In addition, we will grow the WSCC by adding strategic partners.

We are also planning other projects to help understand and improve global supply chains moving wine, fruit, cut flowers, and other high-value, temperature-sensitive perishables.



We welcome inquiries, whether you are interested in participating, seeing the results, or making suggestions. Contact us