What do you do when you have a small and successful wine company that sees an opportunity to improve and enhance the rapidly growing Midwest wine industry? You purchase a custom mobile wine bottling trailer and offer mobile bottling services to other wineries throughout the region.
That’s exactly what Sam Simpson, owner of Harbor Hill Fruit Farms in Lake Leelanau, Mich., did. He secured a 37-foot ATC gooseneck trailer from Advantage Trailer and filled it with approximately 25 pieces of equipment to create a mobile wine bottling trailer.
“It’s very common practice on the west coast,” Simpson said. “We own a couple of production facilities, so it just made logical sense that we didn’t need to own multiple bottling lines. We just needed to be able to move between facilities.”
Harbor Hill Fruit Farms operates several different businesses including Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars, both of which are also in Lake Leelanau. According to Simpson, the state of Michigan currently has about 150 wineries, Ohio has 240, and Indiana has 100, so there is incredible opportunity to add a service to the region that has so far only existed out west.
“It’s one of those things where you need to have a certain size of industry to justify the service, so as the industries grow the more likely that the service can be successful,” Simpson explained. “We’re trying to be the first.”
The wine bottling trailer officially opened for business at the beginning of April and can bottle up to 1,800 cases per day. Harbor Hill’s own products account for approximately 10 percent of that capacity, so Simpson’s team offers the service to other wineries around the Midwest, which helps justify the cost.
With all of the bottling, labeling, and packaging equipment contained within the trailer, wineries can save time, money, and space versus setting up all of that equipment at their own facility.
“The bottles are put on the trailer empty, they’re picked up and filled with nitrogen, the bottle is displaced with wine,” Simpson explained about how the process works. “There is either a cork or a screw cap closure placed on the bottle. The bottles are labeled, they’re date coded, then they go around and they’re put in a case by a person. The case is printed with whatever they want on it and automatically taped, then goes down a conveyor system and stacked on a pallet.”
Simpson’s goal is to expand to additional mobile wine bottling trailers within three years – this one has the potential to capture approximately five to eight percent of the Midwest market – but acknowledges that it will take time to spread the word about the service.
“Everybody that has used us said that they can’t ever see not using us, which is a good start,” Simpson said. “We’re in the mode right now of getting the word out that we’re offering this service.”
In today’s economy, being able to do something with mobility that can improve efficiency, lower costs, and help an entire industry is a major advantage, and that’s what a trailer can offer. The uses for trailers are endless, from mobile retail to a restaurant and sampling to a ministry platform to a tradeshow centerpiece and everything in between.
How can Advantage Trailer help bring your idea to life or increase your business? We stand behind our motto of We Build Dreams because we take pride in crafting mobile solutions for any personal or business need. Give us a call at 630-529-2029 for a quote today.