Alike In Spirit! What’s common between Wine and Supply Chains?

Alike In Spirit! What’s common between Wine and Supply Chains?

Alike In Spirit! What’s common between Wine and Supply Chains?

A couple of weeks ago, while I was just about to drift off, my laptop pinged and there it was, a mail from my dear colleague Lucy, who was sipping on vino while watching Chelsea battle it out with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter finals when an interesting thought occurred to her—wine Vs. supply chain —new topic for my next blog? Check.

I’m no sommelier but I know a bit about wines, well, from drinking them. To be fair I did go on a wine tour at Napa Valley and learnt of the intricacies in vinification, from harvesting and sampling grapes to crushing and pressing; from fermentation and clarification to ageing and packaging, and of course how to ‘correctly’ drink wine—swirl, sniff, sip, and savour. It’s quite uncanny how one can transpose the process of winemaking with supply chain. Let’s taste, shall we?

Grapes to Glass: Winemaking

Eliminate the Silos!

To begin, both must flow smoothly, one in constitution and the other across its constituents. Dregs are to wine what silos are to supply chain—undesirable. Leave wine untouched for a prolonged period of time and you’ll see how those clogged sediments irreversibly alter its composition. Within organisations, information silos start to set when people tend to focus only on their departments and present lack of knowledge about developments and innovations of other verticals. Neglected over a period of time and these can cause major disruptions in business flow and management.

Modern Supply Chain Management solutions help eliminate these organisational barriers by acting as enterprise platforms that connect internal and external systems for better flow of data, consequently allowing better decision-making, faster turn-around time, for all stakeholders within every department and even external vendors, logistics providers, and suppliers. According to Gartner, “An underlying requirement of digital business is maximising the data access and knowledge sharing across the entire organisation. But many have siloed departments that have not historically shared information with each other. Moving to working collaboratively requires not just a set of technology tools, but, more importantly, a change in management and employee behaviours.”

Find the Right Mix

Next, how choosing the right species of grape seeds that contain the required amounts of essential acids, sugars, minerals, tannins, and vitamins influence the composition of wine; designing and developing the right supply chain that fits your business objectives is fundamental to its success.

For instance, why is Tesla Model S. so coveted? It’s because the company has built one of the most sophisticated supply chain networks, that extends globally to source extraordinary raw materials to build their automotives. Graphite and Aluminium from Bauxite ore that maximises the range of its battery over other EVs, Titanium underbody, Lithium, Copper and more.

CEO Elon Musk left no stone unturned, literally, in procuring superior metals and alloys and combined it with state-of-the-art technology to create, according to many sources such as, the world’s ‘most valuable car company’.

Digitise, Slow & Steady

Another commonality is the adoption of technology to upgrade systems and bring them up-to-speed with industry standards—although winemaking can’t, or at least hasn’t yet become 100 per cent automated, it uses technology as a means to an end. Whether it’s harvesters, filtration systems, and sensors in viticulture, or inventory management, self-driving vehicles, and robotics in supply chains—digitisation in its various forms, from the simplest automation of a task to the more advanced decision-making supported by AI, is the route manufacturers are taking to optimise processes and reduce costs. Although, I still have to wrap my head around machines sniffing spirits—especially until they invent ‘digital-hangovers’ for robots!

The likeness in process is one thing, but the two also share similar challenges.

Change with the Times

Supply chains and winemaking entirely hang on the delicate balance of time, where if one link is broken, the entire chain can fall apart. We’ve seen how a single incident of delayed shipment in one part of the world, such as the Suez Canal port blockage recently created havoc in the entire global supply chain network. Comparably, a slight delay in say, harvesting of the grapes to speeding up the fermentation process of wine, and the quality of wine gets compromised. One interesting fact that I only found out from the connoisseur in Napa, was that once opened, all kinds of wine have a shelf life. Even the vintage ones!

  • Bottled White Wine: 1–2 years
  • Bottled Rosé: 1–2 years
  • Bottled Red Wine: 2–3 years
  • Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine: 3–4 years
  • Vintage Sparkling Wine: 5–10 years
  • Fortified Wine: decades


Like wine, if organisations continued functioning on their legacy supply chain processes, that are often time-consuming, cumbersome, and costly, for too long, without upgrading them at par with the latest, more efficient systems, it becomes difficult for businesses to keep up with customer and industry demands and can cost them that competitive edge. According to Forbes, “To effectively meet market demand, a company must be able to see the entirety of its supply chain, use analytics capabilities to understand data and determine the best path forward, and excel in execution. For many companies, visibility is so limited that analytics and execution become too little, too late.” Plus, Roddy Martin, Oracle Vice President of Product Marketing for Supply Chain Management, recently stated, “The model of supply chain has changed from a very supply-driven functional model to an end-to-end process model starting with the customer. As a result of digitisation, the focus has shifted to understanding what the customer wants and being agile enough to meet that demand quickly.”

Become a Supply Chain Connoisseur


Both winemaking and supply chain management are highly complex and detailed in nature, requiring multiple specialised processes to work together in a timely fashion to achieve the desired end results. So how can InspireXT help? We can make your supply chain a hero within your business through our industry knowledge and technology expertise. Reach out to us to find out more!

Lucy & Jaya drinking wine
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