Go back 10 years ago and although hundreds of thousands of litres of wine were being shipped in bulk in huge containers all around the world, in an industry worth tens of millions of pounds a year, it was not a part of the sector that you would find discussed at major international conferences, or publicly at all. Now bulk wine is fundamental to the success of the global wine industry illustrated by the stellar line-up of speakers for next year’s inaugural International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in London.
With over 70% of the wine sold in the UK being shipped in bulk it is not surprising it’s now high on the agenda of all our major retailers, distributors and importers. Some of whom will be sharing their thoughts on the future of bulk wine at the inaugural European version of the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in February in London.
Look at any back bar of a major pub or bar and the chances are the majority of wines being sold have been shipped in bulk to the UK. It is the same for the Top 10 major wine retail brands where the vasty majority will have been bottled in the UK. Bulk wine is no longer just about getting cheap wine from A to B, it is the foundation for the majority of the mainstream wine industry. Particularly anything under £8 in a retailer, or £20 on a wine list.
But how much do we all really know about the bulk wine industry and how it operates? Unless you are involved every day, monitoring currency levels, shipping patterns, export restrictions in major global ports it can still be very much what happens on the other side of the sector. Increasingly, however, all buyers in all channels of the wine industry now need to know about what the opportunities and possibilities there are in bulk wine.
If you are sourcing wine for competitive entry to medium retail price levels or house and just above wines for restaurants and pubs then you are seriously at a disadvantage if you are only have imported bottled wine as your solution. Bulk wine offers opens up the world in so many different ways, from the countries you can import wine from to the right grape varieties at the right commercial price. What’s more advances in shipping and handling technology means it is now arguably safer and more consistent from a quality point of view to ship wine in sealed containers than it is to have bottles at sea for weeks and months at a time.
All of which will be under the microscope at the first major bulk wine show event to be held in London. The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) has recently held its first event in San Francisco and will not be providing the opportunity for buyers, brokers and producers to come together to look at the opportunities for the UK and European markets at its show at the Royal Horticultural Halls between February 26-27.
The event has already attracted an impressive line up of speakers from across the UK and Europe and wine industry:
- Florian Ceschi of international bulk wine brokers, Ciatti Europe, will help set the scene with the latest findings from its Global Bulk Market Report opportunities for producers and negociants
- Clem Yates MW of Off-Piste Wines will look at how importers and distributors can use bulk wine to help develop their own private label and branded wine strategy and therefore offer customers so much flexibility about the wines they can provide.
- Barry Dick MW, who helps buy and source wine for major retailers and branded wine companies, will look at the best ways to import bulk wines from different countries and loo at the benefits of using different shipping formats, from Flexitanks to ISO tanks as.
- Mark Lansley of Broadland Wineries, leading bulk wine bottling, but also now wine development business, will look at how you can drive additional revenues and bring in new business by using bulk wine to highlight gaps in the market where specially tailored, private label wines can add a real difference to a customer’s bottom-line profitability.
- Bulk wine can be complicated. Shipping wine vast differences needs to be done right, which is where David Richardson of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association will look at the varying regulatory issues facing importers of bulk products.
- Neil Anderson and Paul Braydon of Kingsland Drinks, another leading bottling, but also market insights business with its own vast range of branded and customer bespoke brands, will look at how it has evolved as a business to provide consumer-driven solutions to buyers and customers where bulk wine provides the flexibility to source the right wines for the right end market.
- Denys Hornabrook of VINEX, the world’s first online trading exchange for bulk wine, will look at how technology can help make bulk wine buying decisions even more effective and how the bulk wine industry is constantly changing and adapting and in a way leading the rest of the wine industry.
- Clive Donaldson at Morrisons will look at bulk wine from the point of view of a major grocery supermarket chain and the options it now gives it to buy and source the most competitive, quality wines.
- Andrew Shaw, group wine buying director at Conviviality PLC, which is now using bulk wine far more to feed and source the right wines for all the channels of the trade that it covers, from retail with Bargain Booze and Wine Rack, through the on-trade with Matthew Clark and Bibendum. Shaw will explain how it uses bulk wine with advice for suppliers on how they can work with Conviviality to improve their bottled in market service.
- Geoff Taylor of Campden BRI will look at the quality factors related to bulk wine and what big steps have been taken to improve the consistency of bulk wine.
The Buyer debate
The Buyer has been involved in helping to set some of the content for the show and provide some insights in to the UK market and where and how bulk wine has been able to drive real change in all channels of the industry. Richard Siddle will be hosting a debate during IBWSS with leading bulk wine players including Robin Copestick of Copestick Murray, one of the earliest wine companies to base its business model around using bulk wine to help drive its own branded portfolio, including the iHeart wine range, as well as for third parties.
He will be joined by Mark Roberts, of Lanchester Wines, that is able to help source market-focused wines for its customers as well as create a range of brands for itself that can all be packaged by its sister – and separate – bottling business, Greencroft Bottling as part of its brand development, distributor and merchants business.
IBWSS: The Details
What: IBWSS is organised by Beverage Trade Network which looks to provide online and face to face opportunities for wine producers and buyers do better business around the world. The two-day event will also include an exhibition featuring bulk wine providers, brokers, producers, logistics and shipping companies.
Where and when: February 26-27, 2018. The Royal Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PE
Who should attend? The event is relevant for growers, wineries, distilleries, breweries, importers, distributors, retailers or negociants involved in the making, selling, buying and distributing of volume wine and spirits.
How to attend: Go to ibwssshowuk.com for full visitor and exhibitor details.