Why bulk wine is vital to UK wine trade
For some bulk wine are the two four letter words of the wine industry. For others bulk wine is the only way they can do business and make money.
But whichever side of the fence you sit, there is no denying bulk wine is now, like it or not, a fundamental part of the trade.
The environmental reasons for shipping wine in flexitanks three quarters of the way around the world to lie in wait in a UK bottling plant are well rehearsed. But increasingly it is the commercial savings and difference it makes to a wine’s bottom line that is making an increasing number of wine suppliers turn to the bulk wine market.
As Paul Schaafsma, Accolade Wines’ UK boss, says in this week’s issue of Harpers: “It brings you the savings to be able to achieve the key price points that consumers in the UK want.”
Major wine countries are now at the beck and call of the vagaries of the bulk wine market. South Africa now estimates bulk wine accounts for an incredible 58% of the wine it now exports around the world. Whilst it is not a position it would like to see increase any more it is also making its wines competitive and in demand in the key wine consuming markets around the world.
With a shortage of wine around the world the pressure on the bulk wine market in 2013 is set to intensify as retailers, suppliers, and distributors seek to secure long term supply of key varieties at the best prices. But that is likely to be easier said than done in the months ahead.
The machinations of how the bulk wine system works is not as well understood as we might imagine considering its scale. To help give the trade better insights in to the market we have teamed up with bulk wine brokers, Murphy Wine Company to give you a monthly assessment of the trends, and most importantly access to the actual prices of individual grape varieties being traded on the bulk wine market.
These are only available to subscribers of the print copy of Harpers but we hope to bring you further analysis of this vital, if contentious, sector of the market.