Bulk punches above weight

26 March, 2019

Reporting from the World Bulk Wine Exhibition, Shay Waterworth found an innovative and informative global community


HUMAN DEMAND FOR QUALITY of life has never been higher and people’s expectations of better standards at lower cost is evident in the wine industry. For example, it’s not unreasonable in Europe to expect a decent bottle of wine for not much more than the cost of a pint of lager. This wouldn’t be possible without the development of bulk wine, and it’s not as easy as you might think to successfully ship thousands of litres of wine across the world while keeping it fresh and valuable.

The 10th edition of the World Bulk Wine Exhibition in Amsterdam was aimed at encouraging business while also discussing the trends and issues within the category. In 2017, the two-day show attracted 200 producers from 22 countries, accounting for 75% of the bulk wine producers globally, and 2018 is thought to have been even bigger. Attendees were able to network, make important trade deals and join in the debates and seminars hosted by experts within the industry.

“The WBWE is a commercial meeting of great relevance for bulk wine and a great opportunity for producers to exhibit their products. It also gives participants the chance to taste wines from different regions only a few months after harvest,” says Giordano Zinzani, winemaker at Caviro, Italy’s biggest wine cooperative.

One of the seminars, led by wine journalist Megumi Nishida, looked at the trends and changes occurring in the Japanese wine market, specifically in bulk. According to Nishida, Chile continues to dominate the Japanese bulk market, with almost double the import volumes of the US, which sits in second place. There’s even more good news for Chile, with its 2.3% Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan set to be abolished in April 2019. The same goes for wines from the EU and Australia, which will follow in 2021.

Swedish sommelier Cruz Liljegren shared his knowledge of bulk wine trends in Scandinavia, specifically focusing on Sweden, Norway and Finland.

According to Liljegren, the continued popularity of boxed wine has forced brands to be more transparent with the higher sugar levels. The sommelier also pointed out that organic wines have increased 100% over the past decade in Scandinavia, and now account for 10% of sales in Norway and 22% in Sweden. Producers in these countries are allowed to buy organic wines in bulk.

One of the biggest trends highlighted by Liljegren is the growth of Italian wine in Scandinavia. In fact, Italian wine has grown at the same rate as organic wine – 100% in 10 years – and now holds a 30% market share, of which 40% is red. This figure has also been helped by the European prosecco boom, which has seen a 50% increase in Scandinavia in the past five years.

A roundtable discussion on ‘New trends in wine consumption in the US marketplace’ was conducted by Cyril Penn, Wine Business journalist; Deborah Parker Wong, wine journalist and communicator; and Liza Zimmerman, principal of Liza the Wine Chick, a freelance writing and consulting business.

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