For many, February is a special month. First, it’s short, so we can almost begin to see spring off in the distance if we squint our eyes. Second, we all get to engage in the annual groundhog conversation: “What does it mean again when he sees his shadow? More winter or less winter?” Third, it’s when some of us shed our resolutions and get back into our regular (and more confortable) grooves. Fourth, for those in love, Valentine’s brings a concrete, Hallmark-endorsed reason to celebrate it. And you may not know it, but there are folks who celebrate “Jello Week” during February.
But for 4.0 Wine Club members, February is particularly special because it means the arrival of the first wine club shipment of the year. Your box of wine appears at your doorstep (or at your local UPS or ABC store, depending on where you live), and the magic begins.
Actually, the magic begins long before your wine hits your doorstep. And it begins with what I like to call our “4.0 warehouse elves.” These elves (led by Connie McIntosh, Trey Porter, and Stacey Dudley) work tirelessly for several days to ensure that your wine reaches you in ready-to-drink condition.
First, the elves build boxes. LOTS of boxes. Some elves actually specialize in this step in the process, bringing their own gloves and expertly switching between 2-inch and 3-inch shipping tape to ensure that the boxes don’t break during their long journeys. If everything is ticking along as it should, the elves can build and stack as many as 200 boxes in an hour.
Second, while the box-building elves do their thing, other elves engage in math. An example: How many bottles of Brennan Lily are needed to fill 287 three-bottle mixes, 196 three-bottle whites, 76 six-bottle mixes, and 45 six-bottle whites? And how many cases does that equal? I’m not going to lie: At this stage, the elves often argue among themselves.
Once the dust settles (Trey usually has to step in), the elves scurry to gather the needed cases, and stage three begins. Using a long conveyor belt, the elves take their places and “stuff” the boxes with the required wines. At the end of the line, one elf tapes the boxes shut and slaps the shipping labels on them. The last elf in the process places the sealed and labeled boxes on a pallet in a very specific configuration so that the boxes stay balanced and safe. This is when experience with both Jenga and Tetris comes in mighty handy.
Generally lasting about 5 hours each day, the “pack and ship” process is not an easy one, and some elves have been known to get pedicures after it (not naming names). But as with all things 4.0, the elves are well fed on these days (last week, Jesse served up fajitas), and they get to listen to DISCO while they work!
So the next time you open a box of wine from 4.0, picture the warehouse elves scurrying among cases of wine, tossing empty boxes over stacks of cases (10 points if you hit someone, 15 if it’s your boss), and disco dancing to ensure that your wine gets to you safely.
Cheers to the elves!