Boom in bulk wine sales

by | Feb 1, 2018 | Article, Business and Marketing

Quality and diversity were the hallmarks of the 2017 World Bulk Wine Exhibition where buyers showed they were more committed than ever to bulk wines originating from the right address.

 Last year’s World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE), which was held in Amsterdam in the Netherlands from 20-22 November, attracted 200 producers from 22 countries and was attended by 6 500 delegates from the international bulk wine sector. And for the first time in the fair’s history, the demand for wine outstripped the global supply.

Producers from the major bulk wine-producing countries, Spain, France and Italy, shared two days of frantic business activity with wineries from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Moldavia as buyers and brokers from 60 nationalities negotiated deals. Better prices for grapes were the talk of the fair, along with a brighter future for producers and their wines.

The WBWE offers a prime opportunity to see what the world has to offer when it comes to bulk wine. With 40% of all wine exported globally being in bulk, the WBWE is not only devoted to the business of large volumes of wine but also stimulates dialogue among the main players in the bulk wine business and related sectors through high-level conferences, exclusive tastings, master classes and scientific research competitions.

The annual International Bulk Wine Competition is one of the highlights of the exhibition. A jury of 23 international wine judges from 18 countries tasted more than 150 wines and awarded six grand gold medals, 12 gold medals and 27 silver medals. The grand gold medals went to wines from New Zealand, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic. South Africa’s Arbelos Wines won three silver medals and Cape Wine Exporters took home another two silver medals. Once again, quality and diversity stood out with the wines scoring an average of 78.75/100.

Another fair highlight was the launch of the Bulk Wine Club. This online platform allows for access to relevant, reliable and exclusive information about the sector, including worldwide market research, news and company reports.

Lutzville Vineyards marketing and brand manager Anneli Karsten, who attended the WBWE for the seventh time, says it’s one of only two important international shows they attend. “The exposure to the international bulk wine trade is of great importance to us. We see this exhibition as an opportunity to engage with our existing and new customers. The show is attended by high-profile buyers and decision makers, so we wouldn’t dream of missing it. Despite the inevitable price increases in 2018 the show once again had very positive outcomes for us.”

Lutzville Vineyards is the second-largest single cellar in South Africa and dependent on good international bulk wine markets to sell its large volumes of wine. “I know there’s this perception in South Africa among the wine industry fraternity that bulk is responsible for the low prices for our wines,” Anneli says. “We however have a responsibility towards our producers to ensure that we provide the best prices per litre in order to make good payments per ton. We can’t afford to encourage high volumes at low prices as we run the risk of losing our critical tonnes if our payouts are not up to standard. Last year we made a huge effort to negotiate maximum value and will continue to do so this year. The substantive price hike we introduced at the WBWE for 2018 was greeted with little to no opposition.”

For New Cape Wines founder Christiaan Groenewald the WBWE is a one-stop destination where he can see all his important clients. Attending the fair also shows his commitment to the industry. Christiaan, who has 20 years’ experience of the bulk wine industry, says the response to and interest in South African wine has never been greater than at last year’s show. “We’re known for our value-for-money wine offerings. This, together with the fact that our 2018 vintage was being harvested at the time, had buyers queuing up to speak to us.

“Bulk wine is in many instances the forerunner for locally packaged products on shelves abroad. I believe for every litre of wine out of a cellar and every empty tank there’s less wine to sell. The WBWE is an excellent business platform.It just makes sense.” 

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