The pivotal World Bulk Wine Exhibition is the key time of the year for global wine producers and their most important international wine buyers to come together and do business. But with Covid-19 still preventing major trade fairs to take place this month’s show is going online with a new format – WBWE Connect – that will still allow producers to trade their bulk wine with the world’s most influential retail and on-trade wine buyers. Here’s how it is all going to work.
The new WBWE Connect platform will allow producers and buyers around the world to come together and trade online over a two week period between November 23 and December 4, as chief executive Otilia Romero de Condés explains.
There are just over two weeks to go before the new online trading and business format for the World Bulk Wine Exhibition goes live, allowing producers and buyers to still buy and sell wine. Wineries from right across the world, including Australia, Spain, Hungary, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, Japan Portugal and Uruguay, are currently preparing their wines and online sales pitches on the new WBWE Connect platform.
Leading producers already signed up include: Qualia Wines, Austwine Exports and Kingston Estate Wines (Australia), Sanz Calvo and Bodegas Escudero (Spain), MTE International (France), UniWines Vineyard (South Africa), Fecovita coop. (Argentina), Varga Zsolt (Hungary), Ste. Michelle Wine StateS (USA), Kanematsu (Japan), Wenfor (Uruguay) with many more signing up every day.
But how is it all going to work? Show chief executive Otilia Romero de Condés has the answers:
Due to the on-going impact of Covid-19 it is no longer possible to host the WBWE in Amsterdam in November. But you have devised a new online format to still deliver the exhibition – what are you going to do?
Covid-19 is giving all of us a hard time, but if there is one thing that’s clear – business cannot cease to exist. The harvest from 2020 is already in the markets of the southern hemisphere and the crop from the northern hemisphere has recently started and major international buyers and brokers need solutions for their companies. The WBWE was conceived to provide this and we have now created ‘Connect’ with that same determination. To be a vital platform for business meetings and for doing trade.
How did you come up with the format and what advice did you take from producers and buyers?
Within our sector, major bulk wine operators require above all efficiency and diligence. After 12 years being the biggest bulk wine fair for business, our strengths are our contacts and our vast database of wineries and buyers. Whoever wants to purchase or sell wine this year knows that trusting in the WBWE is a guarantee for success.
If you are already an existing exhibitor or a producer, what do you have to do to take part?
We have developed a platform with the aim of being the most intuitive and efficient as possible. If you are looking to buy wine then you simply have to register and for only ¢50 you will have unlimited access to the key market for bulk wines from across the world – which will remain at your disposal from November 23 until December 4 2020.
Producers also have to register to take part and then fill out a form that sets out the specifics of the wines being offered, so that buyers can easily locate them. The WBWE is also guaranteeing every producer between three and five meetings with international buyers, who we have identified as having an interest in the profile of their wines. There is no online wine market that guarantees that.
How will you help producers promote their wines and tell their story?
We are implementing a programme of straightforward and dynamic talks and interviews with the main key players of the international bulk wine panorama. Throughout these recent months of Covid-19, we have seen how different online formats have thrived, this will be the first time that the focus is on the sector that generates the highest sales turnover. An opportunity to really analyse the current situation for bulk wine and its numerous business opportunities there are for producers and buyers around the world.
How are you going to help buyers find the right producer for their needs?
We will help buyers through our system of tailored meetings. Buyers will have access to the entire range of wines on the Connect platform, but by filling out a preference form, the WBWE team of experts will make sure they are put in touch with the most suitable wineries given their needs. It is like a dating service, but for doing business.
How will these meetings be hosted?
Meetings will be established within the on-line personal space of each participant. Once the match has been carried out, the WBWE does not intervene in any other aspect. Any trade that is carried out on Connect will be done so without intermediaries or commissions – we only manage the contact.
What are you doing with the International Bulk Wine Competition that is always such a key part of the show?
The International Bulk Wine Competition will continue in 2020 and is set to take place on November 27. It will also be carried out this year online and we will look to connect wine judges from across the globe. We will ship the samples via an exclusive courier service and the samples will be scored through an in-house system. This year, we are giving preference to wine judges who are also professional buyers so that they can help support and have access to wines being entered by participating wineries.
Producers who are interested in putting their wines into the competition can do so here.
Are you also going to provide any webinars or seminars that usually take place at WBWE?
Our usual conference and seminar format as scheduled won’t take place this year as they are designed to be held person to person and do not want to turn the conference into something online if it is going to lose quality. That said we are going to be carrying out a programme of interviews with key bulk wine players from across the sector and these will be available on the Connect platform.
Is this new online Connect format one you might consider for other shows if necessary?
The online format is here to stay, though we hope we will soon be able to combine it with on-site meetings and encounters in person. But now is the time to be innovative and to fight to maintain business. Stopping our activity is not an option.
- You can find out more about how WBWE Connect is going to work at its website here.
- The Buyer is UK media partner for WBWE.