We spoke with Martine’s Wines to see how shipping wine in bulk with Elenteny and canning it in the U.S. helped them enter new markets and expand their brand.
“We needed to bulk ship quality wine in a single bladder over 6,000 miles without spilling a drop or changing the taste. Elenteny helped us every step of the way and the wine was perfect when it got to the U.S.”- Gregory Castells President | Martine’s Wines
Martine’s Wines has been importing bottles since 1979. Why move to bulk shipping in 2021?
We developed a signature brand of wine, Licence IV. We wanted to put this quality wine in cans as well as bottles so people can enjoy the taste of fine French wine anytime. But our canning partner was in California, not France. We needed bulk shipping to move 14,000 liters of wine across the globe.
How has your relationship with Elenteny evolved?
We’ve been working with Elenteny for 10 years, and inherited this great relationship 9 years ago, when my business partner Kate Laughlin and I bought the company. We started with shipping and NY licensing, but our relationship really evolved when they offered LCL. Suddenly we could move just as much volume as we needed, which alleviated overbuying wines we didn’t really need just in order to fill a container. Elenteny also managed our warehouse provider and opened new markets for us by letting us sell through their wholesale license in NY and IL.
Why did you ask Elenteny to help with bulk shipping?
In 2016 we created a proprietary brand, Licence IV, that we own and distribute. We saw really good growth in red, rosé and white wines. In 2019 we decided to offer those wines in cans, we needed to get the wines from the wineries in France to California where they would be canned, then sold throughout the U.S.
What was it like to transition from LCL to bulk shipping?
It’s a different beast, a completely different way to ship wine. Elenteny helped us research the best solution for our brand, from big bladder to mini bladders.
What kept you up at night?
How to keep the integrity of the wine; there is an art to wine, but a science to shipping. Elenteny was incredible. They walked us through the entire process and kept the integrity of the wine at every step of the way. We needed to understand how to get the wine ready prior to going into the bladder, everything from sulfur levels to acidity and, the correct dissolved oxygen etc, so that it is safe for travel. They also had different sizes of bladders and flexi-tanks made especially for us. The food-grade polymers used to make the bladders were meant to protect the most important thing: the integrity of the wine. When you open a can of Licence IV, it tastes like you’re drinking at a winery in France.
You’ve had great success shipping bottles by the pallet. What made you turn to bulk shipping?
There’s a demand for portable drinks. During the pandemic people couldn’t go to restaurants so they wanted to enjoy good wines or cocktails while out and about. This trend is here to stay. We’d created a new brand Licence IV that was perfect for this moment in time, but we couldn’t can it in France; we needed to ship it in bulk from France and have it canned in California and then sold throughout the U.S.
You put 14,000 liters of your best wine in a single bladder. You’re putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.
Yes, no kidding. But I trusted Elenteny with the process. I would not have trusted anyone else with this.
You’re used to shipping LCL with Elenteny – where you can fine-tune the amount you ship, was it hard to pivot to such large amounts with bulk shipping?
No, even with bulk shipping, Elenteny helped us control the volume. For example, rosé is a seasonal wine, so it didn’t make sense to import 14,000 liters at once like we did with the white. Instead, Elenteny helped us find smaller bulk options. The one we liked best was shipping 6,000 liters in multiple totes. It gave us peace of mind that it was shipped temperature controlled and made it to California via the Panama Canal in 6 weeks.
It sounds like an LCL version of bulk shipping.
Exactly. You still get to control your inventory.
About Martine’s Wines: Martine’s Wines was founded by Martine Saunier in 1979. Recent additions to the company’s portfolio include Chateau Lafleur (Pomerol), Michel Fallon (Champagne), Claude Dugat (Burgundy), Domaine Santa Duc (Rhone Valley), Reeve Wines (California), and Lingua Franca (Oregon) to name a few.
About Licence IV: Martine’s Wines proprietary brand includes, a Muscadet, a Provence Rose and an organic Grenache from the Rhone Valley. We love the idea of excellence on the go. We take “taking it easy” very seriously.
To learn more about Martine’s wines please reach out to Gregory Castells firstname.lastname@example.org
About Elenteny Imports: Expect more control and less complexity. Elenteny Imports gives you real-time shipping transparency along with the peace of mind of logistics and compliance experts securing every last detail.