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Wine Shipping & Fulfillment

Voices of WineDirect; Volume 6: Chuck Babcock 

By  Jessica Foye
August 22, 2023

Get Ready for OND—the busiest shipping time of the year for North American wineries—with our VP of Operations. 

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at WineDirect? 

I am the VP of Operations at WineDirect. I joined the company a little over a year ago and have oversight responsibility for our 2 largest Fulfillment centers—American Canyon, CA & Glenwillow, OH. In addition, I also lead our OPEX or Process Improvement effort, Purchasing, and Transportation teams.  

In the world of WineDirect, what kind of impact does OND (October, November & December) have on inventory and headcount? 

We plan and prepare months in advance to ensure we have a successful OND. The season will result in an increase of 30-40%, so we will bring in additional labor and ensure they are at the top of their game. We expand our On Hand Inventory, spending a lot of time coordinating and planning with our clients, carriers, and vendors. On top of that, we also ensure we have sufficient supplies, packaging, and equipment to meet the expected increase in daily demand. 

Do you have any tips or recommendations on how a winery can prepare for OND?  

Be sure to assess your inventory, monitor sales, and adjust inventory levels as needed throughout the OND season. You will also need to have adequate storage capacity to accommodate the planned increase in volume. You may need additional logistics support, so make sure you have a plan set in place before OND begins—this includes hiring additional staff and making sure they’re adequately trained. Lastly, identify any Customization or Special Packaging requirements and ensure you’re working closely with our Client Success team so we can ensure you are set up for success. 

In what ways can wineries rely on WineDirect? 

Let us be a part of your planning.  Utilize your Account Manager to help plan and prepare. Take advantage of our tools and resources available to you including our Inventory control tools and the Fulfillment Portal to provide real-time access and aid communication.  

We have long-established relationships with vendors and carriers to help with storage, transportation, and can assist with packaging design. Let our team of experts help in ensuring a successful OND for your winery. 

What does WineDirect need from our partner wineries to support them to the best of our abilities?   

Start planning early, share resources, and effectively communicate to ensure we are all well-prepared for OND.  It’s helpful if wineries provide accurate forecasting of expected demand with adequate lead times—the sooner we know what is needed the better. Be sure to include any information about custom packaging, carriers, or any other special requirements. 

We are excited to partner with our winery clients to ensure exceptional delivery experiences and a very successful OND. Don’t forget to keep your Client Success team in the loop every step of the way. The sooner they're engaged, the sooner we can begin working toward a prosperous season.

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