Co-owner and general manager Jeff Meader surveys a section of the 170,000-square-foot facility in McMinnville.##Photo by Marcus Larson
Oregon Wine Services and Storage expedites more than 200,000 shipping orders annually.##Photo by Marcus Larson

Fulfillment on Fast Track

Oregon-California merger creates wine services colossus

By Karl Klooser

Oregon Wine Services & Storage of McMinnville recently announced a merger agreement with Wineshipping of Napa, Calif., resulting in the creation of the country’s largest wine services company.

John Niemeyer founded OWS in late 2001; his son-in-law, Jeff Meader, joined in 2002, becoming general manager and, eventually, co-owner.

Starting business with a 110,000-square-foot warehouse, the company has since expanded its original facility, established two more in Tualatin and a fourth in Medford. This brings its temperature-controlled storage capacity to 252,000 square feet.

OWS has built a comprehensive wine services company encompassing storage, order fulfillment, shipping logistics and transportation. A high level of customer satisfaction makes it the equal in quality and performance, if not in size, of any other company of its kind in the country.

Meader emphasized how the relationship with Wineshipping brings distinct advantages to both firms.

“The streamlining of our e-commerce and other direct-to-consumer services is considerably enhanced,” he said. “We can now provide and control shipments around the country more efficiently than ever before.”

With its sophisticated service operations and facilities, a majority of Oregon’s direct wine shipping business, and a trucking subsidiary, OWS adds the Pacific Northwest’s largest wine services company to the alliance.

Founded in 1998, Wineshipping now operates four fulfillment centers — two in California, one in New York and one in St. Louis. Already the leading direct-to-consumer wine logistics company in the U.S., Wineshipping serves more than 600 winery and e-commerce clients.

Meader noted that OWS will continue to operate as a separate entity he will manage along with Operations Vice President Tim Moore, who has been with company since 2005.

He emphasized that the merger strengthens and streamlines fulfillment and enhances the ability to expedite last-mile delivery to both trade and consumer. Close coordination with Wineshipping personnel will allow them to take maximum advantage of an eight-facility network spanning the nation.

“Responding and adapting to the unique needs of the Oregon wine industry has always been our top priority,” Meader said. “And this partnership brings strong advantages, which allow us to offer more options to our clients.

“Wineshipping has an impeccable reputation, and we share the same business philosophies. There’s no doubt that their technological advantages will benefit Oregon, particularly with the escalating demand for direct wine shipping services, which necessitates a new level of service in our fulfillment process. “

“We are excited to join with OWS,” said Rick Moradian, Wineshipping CEO. “As we got to know Jeff and Tim, we realized this was an ideal fit from both a cultural and business perspective. Like OWS, we’ve grown with the wine industry and continue to focus on delivering the best service experience for our clients and colleagues.

“Our alliance positions us well to satisfy the surge in direct-to-consumer demand and explosion of e-commerce sales. Together, we’ll strategically meet the needs of wineries and consumers throughout North America.”

Underscoring Wineshipping’s Oregon connection, in early 2014, it partnered with Endeavour Capital, a Portland-based private equity firm, “to expand its services and geographic reach to better serve its clients.”

That association strengthens the financial position of both companies as they join together to further enlarge their market share. With anticipated e-commerce growth on the rise nationally, the market they serve promises to be larger than ever before.

Meader reiterated that the multi-faceted services both companies offer, now in conjunction with each other, include storage, fulfillment, compliance, shipping and direct delivery.

From temperature-controlled warehouses and shipping containers to comprehensive freight services including consolidations, every step of the way, logistics call for absolute accuracy.

Record keeping verifying compliance in meeting TTB and OLCC rules and regulations is one of the most complex and demanding aspects of their services. Both companies pay particular attention to environmental concerns as well, most importantly in the area of recyclable packaging, as well as energy efficiency.

Now serving nearly 200 winery clients, Meader anticipates that the partnership with Wineshipping will attract more business which they will be better prepared than ever to serve.

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