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Guide to alcohol delivery of wines from New Zealand to overseas

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Back in 2020 when the pandemic shook the world and impacted the international trade of various products, the global exports of one were barely affected — the international wine trade. While some might argue that the total monetary value of wine exports did indeed drop due to the reduction in average prices, there is no denying that the billions’ worth of global sales for wine exports in the years that followed demonstrates a rapid recovery. 

And beyond the big exporters of wine — namely, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, and Australia — New Zealand (NZ) winegrowers have also witnessed continued growth in value terms. As a matter of fact, towards the end of September 2022, New Zealand Winegrowers reported that the country’s wine export value reached over two billion — a 6% increase from 2021.

With their distinctive flavours of wine grape varieties, quality and promise of sustainability, wines made in New Zealand have increasingly resonated with consumers from all over the world, leading to an ever-growing demand for them. Despite issues such as increasing production costs, lack of skilled workers, strained supply chains, and inefficient management of market impacts, there seems to be no stopping New Zealand players in the wine industry from reaching their goal of increasing wine exports to the billions. 

Challenges of shipping wine internationally

As much as the popularity of wine has spiked over time and New Zealand winegrowers remain optimistic about growing their wine exports, there are still a few downfalls in the form of wine shipping challenges. Already being a small country on its own, navigating these challenges can make or break businesses’ ability to successfully enter the international wine market. However, being aware of these challenges and associated solutions can do wonders in terms of navigating a safe course of action and ensuring a smooth delivery process for all parties involved.

1. Temperature fluctuations

Whether you are shipping wine internationally as a gift or exporting them out for your business, one thing remains constant — the need for the alcohol to be kept at a certain temperature to prevent it from spoiling. The slightest shift in °C and the bottle of wine will either not mature properly or spoil completely. With the sensory and chemical profiles of wine being extremely vulnerable to temperature changes during shipping, the shipment time, the number of vibrations and even other environmental factors like exposure to sunlight, it is crucial to consider the shipping method, packaging material and storage conditions to guarantee its shelf life. Leveraging temperature monitoring or regulating services during the shipment will also help maintain the freshness and signature aromas of various wine grape varieties while simultaneously preventing premature ageing.

2. Damage and miscellaneous costs

Wine or not, any business will agree that not delivering a product in one piece is probably not the best way to retain customers. Add to that the additional costs of dealing with return logistics and the massive dents to potential profits are clearly not sustainable for any business. Given the tricky and delicate nature of wine and wine bottles, making your product packaging stand out should come second after taking the necessary steps to ensure packages are not broken, and risks such as cork ejection and leakage are mitigated. In an ideal world, shipping insurance is one of the best ways to protect both your business and your customers.

Wine shipping basics

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Beyond these aforementioned challenges, the long list of regulations associated with shipping alcohol internationally are a whole other ball game. 

1. Meeting New Zealand’s wine export requirements

Like any alcoholic beverage, shipping wine requires consideration of various regulations. Of all the steps to export wine, the first is to meet the requirements posed in New Zealand itself. According to the Wine Act 2003, wine businesses must apply for export eligibility for each batch of wine, which is only valid for a maximum of two years. This application for eligibility must then be accompanied by a declaration that the product is free from any obvious fault. The only time this is not required, is when the trade samples in one single consignment are below 110 litres and is clearly marked “not for sale”.

2. Understanding destination market requirements

With every international wine delivery, it is pivotal to comply with the regulations posed by the specific countries you are shipping to, as failure to comply can result in hefty fines against your business. There is no denying that working with a logistics company that is well-versed in the different zip codes and the bottlenecks of wine deliveries can make all the difference between compliance with various federal, state and local regulations. However, factors such as labelling practices are a responsibility a business must take upon themselves. As such, be sure to check the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for the specific destination country and make the necessary declarations for each batch during the batch eligibility application. 

Start shipping wine from NZ with DHL today

As wine lovers get back to their normal spending habits, the typical bottlenecks associated with international liquor and wine delivery are things that the wine industry simply cannot escape. However, working with an international courier service provider experienced in international shipping and knowledge of how to ship wine overseas can make a huge difference.

For years, DHL Express has helped businesses expand their business across the globe. By providing efficient and reliable overseas shipping bundled with service options that the wine industry can leverage to expand into new markets, shipping processes can undoubtedly be streamlined. With real-time shipment tracking and unrivalled customer services to tap into, we make it easy for vineyards and individuals in New Zealand to ship wine internationally. 

If you are looking to export wine out of New Zealand or ship wine internationally as a gift, consider opening a business account with DHL Express NZ today.