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Wine bottles with tilted necks safely stored

11 July 2018 | 

Wine requires especially during storage excellent care. To ensure this in a gas-tight high bay warehouse, the largest private wine merchant in France, known by the "wine bottles with tilted necks" from the brand J.P. Chenet, trusts in the experience of voestalpine Krems Finaltechnik.

When you have the feeling a bottle of wine nods to you, you may hold a bottle of J.P. Chenet in your hands. This shape was designed in 1984 and soon it became the brand label of Les Grand Chais de France (GFC), one of the leading French wine and spirits trading companies.

Growing stock requirements

In the landscape of the French Nordvogesen the company sets an architectural counterpoint at its business location in Petersbach: high bay warehouses in a central location take over an important function to ensure the worldwide export to over 173 countries – with a bottling capacity of one million bottles per day! “The central storage helps the Groupe GCF to reduce its carbon footprint and to guarantee a high quality of service”, says project manager Linonel Schmitt from GCF.

It was only a matter of time, before the family-run company needed a second high bay warehouse here at Alsace, after the one built in 2012, to meet its stock requirements with an extra 21.200 pallet bays. Already for the construction of the first high bay warehouse of this size the wine wholesaler trusted in the know-how of the Austrian high bay racking specialist voestalpine Krems Finaltechnik GmbH. In close and trusting cooperation two warehouses at the logistics center Landiras (Bordeaux), a home to wines from sonorous growing areas like Pomerol, Saint-Émilion and Montagne-Saint-Émilion, were built. 

From the customer’s point of view Linonel Schmitt stated: „With voestalpine Krems Finaltechnik as our partner everything went according to plan – we were impressed by the flexibility of this company.” This experience from previous cooperation was reason enough to realize the fourth high bay warehouse together. Matthias Fitz, project manager at voestalpine situated in Krems, Lower Austria: “Our clients know that also at a high level of urgency voestalpine stands for accuracy of materials and project orientation and guarantees a project implementation according to plan.” This fact may not be underestimated as the high supply and production figures of GCF demanded an efficient project handling. Having only eleven weeks from start of construction until completion the logisticians of the involved companies were challenged at the brink of the feasible. Fitz: “We were working in two shifts in Petersbach to finish the high bay warehouse on  time. Thanks to the on time-deliveries from our own production and other suppliers we were able to meet the challenging schedule.”

Airtight precision

Wine is a sensitive and precious good that needs to be stored with a lot of care. Therefore, the inventory of Les Grand Chais is not only exactly tempered but also protected against fire. For the high bay racking specialists from voestalpine Krems Finaltechnik these requirements were a special challenge during project planning and construction. “Tempering and fire protection demand a close interaction of service and precision”, explains Matthias Fitz.

Thus, the construction that manages the temperature and humidity is placed under the roof and is well reachable through a non-stop service aisle.  Fitz: “Our customer desired a connection of the aisle in the new, almost 40 m high warehouse and its counterpart in the previously built warehouse. Of course, all requirements regarding temperature and pressure had to be met.” Requirements that are characterized by small tolerances. Only 0.03 m3 of air – which is equivalent to just 30 liters! – per hour are allowed to stream in and out, as the warehouse is protected against outbreaks and spreading of fire by low pressure, combined with a reduction of the oxygen content.

Thanks to their project planning experience and high precision in the production of parts and installation voestalpine Krems Finaltechnik was able to implement all customer wishes at the XXL-wine rack in Petersbach according to plan and with their usual accuracy. In this case the “bend” is reserved for the distinctive bottles with their precious filling and is not an archetype for the modern high bay racking construction. GCF could again rely on the performance and adherence to schedules from voestalpine’s high bay racking specialists.

That is reason enough to have a bottle of wine – when it already nods to you …

High bay warehouse Les Grand Chais de France, Petersbach/Alsace, France – Facts

  • Petersbach, France
  • Pallet warehouse
  • 3000 m2 floor area
  • Dimensions (l/w/h): 100/29/40 metres
  • 200 bays for 3 industrial or 4 euro palettes
  • 15 storage levels, 4 rack aisles with automatized storage and retrieval system
  • Fully air-conditioned, with an inertisation system for increased fire protection