Harbor Hill Fruit Farms is an umbrella company for wineries. They offer vineyard services, winemaking, custom labeled wine, and their newest service is mobile bottling.
According to Sam Simpson, president of Harbor Hill, they have two production facilities—Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars. Both locations had bottling lines, but they were underutilized.
“Each of those were being underused,” said Simpson. “It made sense from a floor footprint, as well as capital use, to look at a mobile option where we could bring the line to the production as opposed to bringing production to the line.”
On Michigan’s western coast, mobile bottling is how most vineyards package their wines. Harbor Hill Fruit Farms is the first in this area to have this type of unit. Smaller wineries bottle 20 to 30 days out of the year. Simpson says mobile bottling the best and most efficient way to use time and resources.
“Having all that equipment sit on your floor takes up a lot of space, and if you’re only doing something a few times a year, you don’t get good at it,” said Simpson. “We’ve put in bottling, labeling, sanitation, everything in the trailer. When we have our production barrels or tanks at a facility, we can bring that equipment to it and you need to make sure the packaging is on site and you can do that bottling and the equipment leaves.”
Another great part of the mobile bottling? The trailer comes to you!
“What we’ve thought the value we’re bringing to the people that are starting go grow, is we’re giving them equipment that would be sufficient if they were a $100,000 case facility, but they can have that when they’re smaller,” said Simpson. “They pick up all the efficiency that we bring without having to have the investment into it in the first place.”
Harbor Hill Fruit Farms’ bottling unit recently celebrated their first in action. Simpson has received positive feedback, and there’s already a list of customers ready to use the service this year.
“We’re trying to make sure smaller people can thrive because if you have a monoculture where you’ve got a few large processors that own all that equipment, it makes it harder for the small people to generate the value out of their own facility,” he said. “We’ve always tried to make sure that our services can benefit people during every stage of their growth.”
For more information, visit harborhillmi.com.