All posts by webadmin

Hiring a Carrier

You need something transported, do you just call the first trucking company or broker you find? What should you do? Before you contact a carrier or broker be ready to provide lots of information and be ready to ask lots of questions.

Basic Shipment Information needed:

  • Origin & Destination: (location, hours of operation, contact info)
  • How big of a truck can the O&D handle.
  • When is the shipment ready?
  • When do you want delivered?
  • Commodity?
  • Quantity: Pallets, cases, and weight.
  • Product on pallets, slip sheets, or carton clamped.
  • Dimensions of pallets (Length, Width, Height)
  • Special handling equipment required to load or unload: IE; Lift Gate, Pallet Jack
  • Value of shipment.
  • Temperature Requirements.
  • Trailer requirements IE: air ride suspension, swing doors, e-trac

Questions to ask and get in writing:

  • Carriers USDOT number.
  • Safety record of carrier (it’s Federal law you check, you cannot pass that responsibility on). If you ship with a broker, you are still required to ensure they are hiring a safe carrier. Link:
  • Does the truck have Elogs / GPS?
  • Does the trailer have GPS and reefer temperature tracking?
  • Cargo Insurance / Cargo value limitations….. (rates typically aren’t set by value)
  • Reefer Breakdown insurance?

Recommendations / Words of Wisdom:

  • Develop a relationship with a safe, compliant, eco-friendly and socially responsible asset-based carrier.
  • Have a signed transportation contract on file.
  • Utilize the carriers web site to input shipments requests and the technology they provide to help you operate your business.
  • Obtain annual Certificates of Insurance.
  • Always insure your inventory when in transit.
  • Knowing that you hired a safe, compliant, eco-friendly, socially responsible and insured carrier may cost you a few more pennies per bottle, but it will save you in the long run.

Bulk Wine Transportation

While I am not an expert on tanker loads of bulk wine we do transport a large number of “caged” totes or “stainless steel” tanks for our customers across the pacific northwest and California. For those transporting full totes or tanks I think it’s important to know a couple of regulatory and safety items.


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

  • FMCSA implemented requirements to help improve safety and training requirements for those whom transport “bulk” items.
  • A driver is required to have a “Tanker Endorsement” on their Commercial Drivers License if:
    Cargo includes liquid or gaseous individual containers larger than 119 gallon capacity.
    The containers are loaded, and not empty.
    The total combined volume in those containers exceeds 1,000 gallons.
  • The rules have been in place since 2015.
  • If you or your carrier gets stopped without the endorsement the truck / load can be shut down and not allowed to move until a licensed operator is available, $5,000 fine and potential drivers license suspension.
  • Ensure tank is sealed… if it’s leaking going down the road, you are only losing money, it can also cost you another ticket… “Unsecure load.”


  • Bulk liquids move / slosh. So it’s really important you understand the impacts to handing with your vehicle and trailer.
  • Increase your defensive driving posture.
  • Plan your route and for any potential issues.
  • Secure the tanks down with appropriately rated straps and the correct number.
    Example: the first and last four feet of any “flat bed” load must be secured with (2) straps.

I hope this helps you stay safe and legal. Please call me if you have any questions.


Insuring your inventory at a 3rd party Warehouse

While I am not an insurance expert or an attorney lots of customers ask me insurance questions. The primary response I have is learn what and how much your insurance covers, understand the fine print. Then talk with your warehousing companies to understand their insurance and limitations…yes I said limitations.

Rule #1: Insure your inventory while in transit or while being warehoused at a 3rd party location.

Warehouse Liability:

Repeating above…. Insure your product. Warehousing companies do not keep insurance on your inventory. What they do is, only pay for what they become legally liable for and only up to a limited dollar amount which is typically less than market value.

Examples I like to share:

  • Warehouse gets struck by lightning and burns down…. Call your insurance agent.
  • Employee is welding in the warehouse and it catches on fire… the warehouses insurance company will step in and determine legal liability with limitations

Why limitations…

  • Warehouse companies typically don’t vary their storage and handling rates based on the “laid in costs or retail pricing” of your items. The the amount you would be reimbursed is typically a calculation based on monthly storage rate or not to exceed amount.

Summary... know your insurance amounts and read the warehouse contract you signed with your 3rd party warehousing company.

I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.


Cargo Legal Liability Insurance

While I am not an insurance expert or an attorney lots of customers ask me insurance questions. The primary response I have is learn what and how much your insurance covers, understand the fine print. Then talk with your carriers to understand their insurance and limitations…yes I said limitations.

Rule #1: Insure your inventory while in transit or while being warehoused at a 3rd party location.

Repeating above…. Insure your product. There is no single rule or amount of coverage a carrier must have on the “Cargo” or “Reefer Breakdown” policy. Many customers just assume that when their product is transported and if damaged they will be reimbursed by the carrier at full retail price…. Sorry that’s not going to happen.


  • Most less than truck load carriers will only reimburse by the pound if they are found legally liable. Typically you will be paid $.10 per pound for damaged product that you can prove they damaged in negligence…$3.60 for that case of wine or $201.60 for the whole pallet of wine.
  • Many truck load carriers may have $75,000 – $100,000 for the “truck load.” If multiple customers products are on the truck, then those funds would be allocated.


  • If you are concerned about temperature while shipping your products make sure the carrier has a reefer and has a “Reefer Breakdown” policy. If you put your wine on an dry van carrier, no temperature controls in place…..thus you are taking all of the risk.
  • Spring Ride vs Air Ride trailers…. I have seen lot’s of damaged bottles and labels over the years because of scuffing. Spring Ride suspension trailers don’t absorb the road conditions like air ride suspensions. Carriers don’t pay for scuffing damage.
  • Use a little more shrink-wrap and wrap it tight. Keep wine to a maximum of (4) layers high to provide stability.
  • Obtain an Insurance Certificate on an annual basis or prior to using a new carrier so you know the carriers coverage.
  • You the shipper are federally responsible to check the safety record of any carrier you hire. You can not pass off the requirement to a freight broker… the liability resides with the one arranging for transportation.

Summary… know your insurance amounts and read the carrier contract plus terms and conditions document you may or may not have signed with your carrier or freight broker.

Always happy to help answer any questions you may have.


Direct To Consumer

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy harvest. For years many people within the wine industry have requested that I share compliance, safety and logistics information to help the whole industry. My first topic that I would like to write about is Direct to Consumer Fulfillment.

As we all know DTC is a great way to share and build your brand, however one of the biggest challenges is destination state compliance. Folks like ShipCompliant have developed some incredible tools to help you stay complaint and legal counsel such as Stoel Rives have been a great help.

This summer ShipCompliant presented at regional Washington Wine Institute meetings. One major topic they shared several times was there is “no magic ticket or permit” that a fulfillment house can obtain on behalf of their customers. Each winery whom “produced” the wine must obtain their own destination state license. Any fulfillment house that tells you otherwise is being less than honest.

With many states developing on-line wine purchasing sting operations, Fed Ex and UPS having to report shipment information to destination states LCB’s, they are taking notice of the inbound volume. They are linking the shipment to the winery permit, or lack there-of.

If you currently have sufficient DTC business or are developing the business you then must obtain the destination state license. If you don’t have the destination state license don’t ship your wine or have a 3rd party ship it for you. You are jeopardizing your business and the 3rd party fulfillment house is being dishonest. Fulfillment houses have been threatened to cease and desist and several have shut down programs that have been operating illegally.

Always seek legal counsels’ advice and direction and speak with industry experts such as ShipCompliant.

Additional upcoming topics: Insurance (cargo, reefer, warehouse), Selecting a Carrier, “Shipper” liability, Sanitation and more.

As always thanks for your business and continued support. We are here to serve, not to be served.

Robert & the Vintners Logistics family.