Getting Better with Age?


While on a trip to Willamette Valley Vineyards in France, I tasted a wine that was aged for ten years, and I found that aged wines have a unique taste than newly produce wine. However, while consuming the wine, my mind started wondering how the end- to -end process flow works, what are the critical process controls, what are the priorities of operation managers, and finally how to manage the inventory.

First, I would like to share how the process flow works. Below is the end-to-end diagram that explains that process.

Many steps need to be completed in order to have an aged bottle of wine. My mind was wondering about all the steps because what I had recently learned in the class about network diagrams. For example, the vineyard, crusher, fermentation, and aging need to be completed first in order to have bottling and packaging operation. To find the critical path analysis, it is important to know how long it will take to complete each activity. In addition, it depends about the variety of grape, what kind of wine we need to produce and how long it needs to be aged before the final activity occurs. For example, with most Merlots, it could be aged between 2-12 years.

There are important critical process controls in the operational flow for achieving high quality of wine. Factors, such as crap quality, sorting, fermentation, aging, and filtration process all quality of wine. All these processes are controlled carefully as any deviation can lower the quality of the final product.

In addition, critical areas to focus on the superior customer response time or service are distributor, retail, and tasting rooms as direct sale. These were chosen because wine industries can receive instant feedback from the customers in order to provide exceptional customer service. By getting the customer feedback, wine businesses will be able to respond and react fast enough to correct or solve the issue. Also implementing an information system to streamline and automate data flow for business processes will improve performance and gain access to real time data.

Operation Management is another integral role in the process. Close attention to the areas of labor, equipment, raw material, and inventory must be paid to insure the success of the production operations. Focus on achieving the highest efficiency in production operation is very critical to wineries because of the highly competitive nature of the industry. Inventory control system is another area that requires a lot of attention because a huge stock of inventory needs to be held for aging. The quality of these inventories need to be closely monitored and highly managed in order to generate desired revenue and profit.

What kind of inventory method wineries are using? Is it worth paying more money for aged wine? Is wine getting better with age?


2 thoughts on “Getting Better with Age?

  1. I have heard a lot about how the older the wine, the better it tastes. I was actually wondering if there can be any slack in producing this wine. Because the grapes can go bad, should the time that the grapes come from the vineyard ending in fermentation be really quick? Would those be critical points that cannot have any slack? I have also tasted red wine before. The newer age ones do taste different from the older ones. There is, to me, a richer taste and scent to older wine.

  2. This article had me thinking about my experience with wine tasting. Mmmmmmm…..

    In terms of wine getting better with age, I think it really all depends on the type of wine and how long you wait before you taste it. Wines have a prime aging point in terms of tasting the best after ‘x’ amount of years have passed, and some just aren’t meant to be aged. It also depends on whether the harvest for that year was good or not, which depends on the weather and is one aspect of the wine making process that cannot be controlled. It also depends on the person tasting the wine and their preferences as well…There’s a lot of factors that go into play. In the end, wine is still wine no matter the age.

    I agree with with jlin, the amount of time it takes to get those grapes fermented after harvesting is not something I have thought about before or learned of yet. It would be interesting to find out, as well as how the wineries manage their inventory. Good post.

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