The complexity of the United States wine market, built on the back of its three tier system, means it is hard to put on trade events that are relevant to all markets and operators across its 50 states. The World Bulk Wine Exhibition hopes to change that with its new dedicated United States trade exhibition that it hopes can become the country’s main event thanks to its focus on bulk, bottled and private label wines – products that are relevant whatever state you are in. Here Otilia Romero de Condés, head of WBWE, explains what to expect at WBWE USA.
The World Bulk Wine Exhibition USA takes place in Santa Rosa, Sonoma between June 7-8. Full details on how to register and take part are available here.
Can you tell us about your US show and what you are hoping to achieve?
Throughout these past 13 years in which we have become the leading international wine fair in terms of business transactions, we have always taken into consideration the US marketplace. The need for a fair among professionals in the US has been a reality for a long time, however, we wanted to be extremely well-prepared before taking that step forward. WBWE USA was created so that it could turn into the ultimate event for those who seek to maximize their business within the wine sector.
This is an event focused on delivering and covering the latest trends including new packaging methods, design, sustainability, private labels, and the chance for buyers to access and taste bulk wine and quality wine from a diverse number of countries. This is the first step in what we hope will become the wine fair in the United States.
Why are you doing a standalone show in the US specifically?
The United States has positioned itself as the most attractive market for the global wine industry and the buying opportunities there are overwhelming. In 2021, US imports reached a total of 13.92 million hectoliters, amounting to $7,063 million which is an increase of 13% compared to 2020, at an enviable average price of $5.07 per litre.
It is now increasingly looking to international markets for fine quality wines, both bulk wine and bottled wine. The US needs wine and the wine sector needs the US. With our know-how, we want to help to provide the best possible trade so that professionals can find what they are looking for in the shortest period of time and get the best possible performance for their businesses out of it. We want the WBWE to be the most powerful tool for those businesses looking to increase their profitability.
Why are you holding it in Sonoma?
Modesto and Lodi are cities at the heart of the bulk wine industry in the United States. It is where the major bulk wine producers and operators are located so it is the ideal place to bring those major operators together with key buyers around the world. So hopefully it’s a win-win for everyone.
Who is the show targeted at and who you hope to attend?
From the US we hope to welcome:
- Wine buyers (all sizes).
- Entrepreneurs who want to develop a new wine brand.
- Wineries looking for quality wine to boost their own wines or private labels.
- Producers looking for a specific wine profile for their winery.
- Wineries that would like to enhance and expand their international sale potential.
From the rest of the world we target producers who:
- Produces quality wine both in bulk and/or in bottle.
- Want to increase their margins and raise their sales value.
- Aim to create synergies with importers who understand their wines’ potential.
- Believe their wines have the right profile for private labels and new packaging formats.
- Are interested in opening up to the US market.
What special features will there be at the show in terms of masterclasses, seminars and talks?
WBWE USA will also be the meeting point for debate on key business issues with a discussion panel full of experts. Some of the highlights from the content plan include:
- “Economy of the Wine Market” with Robert Mc Millan, founder of the wine division of Silicon Valley Bank.
- “The Other Markets in the World: Asia” with Bárbara Insel, manager director of Insel Inc.
- “The Current State of the Industry” led by Paul Wagner, wine expert and professor.
- “The Art of Filtering” led by Stephano Migotto, filtration expert in VinTech.
- Robert Williams will take a look at canned wine using the winners of the International Canned Wine Competition, plus many other surprises that we will be announcing soon.
What do you see as the key trends happening in the US market?
We think private label is an area with huge potential in the US and is to keep on growing. Overall private-label retail sales in the United States increased by 1% to $199 billion in 2021, according to a report done for Private Label Manufacturers Association by IRI.
The types of consumer are increasingly diverse and are looking for niche brands tailored to what they want in terms of image, flavour, look and feel. Private label brands are proving to be highly effective in achieving this and allowing the market to deliver what the consumer is looking for. There’s no private label that is identical to another, and is also increasingly creative and we hope to be able to showcase and attract them to WBWE.
Do you have plans for any more shows around the world including going back to China?
Undoubtedly. We hope to hold the WBWE China fair sooner than later. It was a huge success in 2019, and we all left full of optimism about the countless possibilities in the Asian market. The past two years, though, have been the worst possible nightmare for an event organiser (beyond the health and social tragedy it has been); so now, more than ever, it is our duty to keep fighting to provide useful tools that ensure the market continues to function.
WBWE Amsterdam was one of the very few wine fairs that was held in 2021 and now we are in a position to launch WBWE USA and help create a new market, whilst WBWE China is waiting to make a strong comeback. This is currently our focus.
- You can find out more about WBWE USA here. It runs from June 8-9 in Sonoma, California.
- To find our more about WBWE and its other events including its main show in Amsterdam click here.
- The WBWE is partners supplier to The Buyer.