Tue 22 Oct 2013

Lofty Heights and Happy Landings in the Warehouse

Warehouse Four at The Wine Society

Warehouse Four at The Wine Society

When I tell people that I work at The Wine Society, the reaction is usually one of curiosity, jealously and/or wildly inaccurate perceptions (for instance we haven’t had a staff sherry allowance since the late 70s!).

Working for The Society offers a fascinating mix of excellent people, a sincere desire to do the right thing and, of course, amazing wines.

However, the other day I found myself truly wishing I was elsewhere, as I ascended 50 feet into the air to the very top of our fourth (and largest) warehouse to look at some possible ideas for some photography.

I would never confess to being great with heights but I didn’t quite expect the degree of absolute terror that set in as soon as we started the gentle ascent towards the ceiling of what is one of Europe’s tallest warehouses. Luckily I was accompanied by my marketing colleague Alex Chrysostomou (who had to hold the camera as I refused to let go of the sides of the forklift cabin) and forklift driver Arian Bytyci, who naturally was completely unfazed at the prospect of being so high up; he didn’t even seem remotely daunted when the forklift cab started to sway from side to side (I’m assured that the movement, although perfectly safe, is exaggerated when carrying a full load, something I’m more than happy to take Arian’s word on).

The view from the ground

The view from the ground

Going up...

Going up…

Despite the shaking legs, sweaty palms and the mask of fear etched on my face, even I couldn’t help but be impressed by the scale of the operation in our warehouses here at Stevenage. While not quite emulating the pope and kissing the floor upon coming down to earth it was a close run thing.

One of the enormous forklifts at Warehouse Four. Each weights 12,300kg.

One of the enormous forklifts at Warehouse Four. Each weighs 12,300kg.

So next time I open a bottle of wine from The Society I shall definitely be raising a glass to Arian and his colleagues in the warehouse, while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground.

Gareth Park
Campaign Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous


  1. Andrew Randall says:

    Your artcle brings back fond memories of my work before retirement in 1999.

    I operated a storage equipment business in the North West and was frequently involved in design, supply and installation of high rise racking installations including wine and catering wholesalers!

  2. Geoff Shannon says:

    Interesting, I helped to commission the Waitrose Highbay Warehouse at Bracknell in 1972 and worked there for eight years. The six automated cranes handled two pallets each with 10 layers of storage reaching up 22 metres- climbing up the ladder attached to the rear mast of the crane (to sort out a breakdown) was quite strenuous-one didn’t feel the need to go to a gym after a difficult shift! The automated warehouse has now been demolished and replaced with one similar to the Wine Society’s.

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