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Posted: Sunday, 09 December 2018 09:44

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WBWE 2018: A Decade of Promoting Global Bulk Wine Successfully

Dec 09: World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) in its 10th edition organised at RAI Amsterdam on 26-27 November, 2018 concluded successfully with 250 exhibitors from 22 countries and 6,500 wine professionals congregating from 75 countries including India, and ready for onward march and debut in Yantai China on May 30-31, writes Subhash Arora who has been attending most of the editions and judging at the International Bulk Wine Competition (IBWC) a day prior

The WBWE claims to offer the taste of 80% of the world’s current harvest in 2 days, showcasing wines from 22 countries this year- Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Uruguay and the US.

There were several countries like Armenia, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Nepal, Senegal, Serbia, Turkey and Uzbekistan which sent buyers to the 10th special edition for the first time.. Of courses there were buyers from traditional countries like Canada, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, the US and even one from India.

Buyers include from India

The 10th WBWE has been more diverse than ever before with not only the large bulk wine operators being present but adding to their bouquet of producers were new entrants and medium-sized companies with specific wines for their business. New opportunities were provided regarding private labels, alternative packaging and environmental awareness. 

Of course, one buyer from India, Vikash Gupta, senior partner of Oprahi Wines in Gurgaon, who attended the show for the first time, rued why he did not attend a couple of years earlier. He was so impressed with the quality and prices of the wines on offer that he negotiated with a couple of suppliers from Italy and was keen to develop imports from countries like Moldavia and Australia and would like to return next year. ‘It is a gold-mine for those dealing in private labels and with the duties being so high in India, I feel there is a huge market for some of these wines as many producers were keen to offer BIO (bottled in origin) wines in private labels at very attractive prices.’

One had but to remind him that last year the prices were at a record high due to fall in production and this year both the quality and the harvest have been better in most countries

making the prices come down significantly; the quality has been so good that many wines could be bottled right away without any blending.

International Bulk Wine Competition (IBWC)

This fact could not be ascertained at the International Bulk Wine Competition (IBWC) held a day earlier with 30 international judges tasting in 6 panels and most finding wines getting better every year. It appears, many producers are specialising  and focusing in bulk wines and are improving the quality, not to forget Eastern European Countries which have been participating in bigger numbers and offering very attractive prices for exceptionally good wines.

The Competition saw a couple of innovations –the main one being the use of iPads for scoring which had a few glitches initially but had many innovative features not seen in any other international competitions using computers. After a few hiccups, it became very handy to use and can only get better next year, helping the accuracy of judging even more.

What no iPad can do is the intricacy in judging bulk wines, especially the reds. One has to comprehend fully that many bulk wines are used for blending and add some missing component- like colour, tannins or particular flavours, adjusting pH and total acidity, balancing alcohol levels, adjusting sweetness and body of wines, balancing wood in wines and umpteen other factors including elimination of defective aromas and flavours. This is equivalent to judges having  ability to assess the ageablity of wines in the short time available for tasting and the skills need to be sharp.

Out of around 200 samples (the number seems small but has been increasing every year steadily) only 5 received Gold medals, with 17 winning Gold, the balance being Silver. The completion prides itself in limiting the number of medal winners to 30%.

Art of Blending Wine

Considering the importance of blending for bulk wine, the organisers had started last year a 2-day conference on Art of Blending of wines that was extremely popular. This year too it had organised a separate Conference over both days on the same topic that attracted big numbers. Interestingly, the entry to the Conference was complimentary this year too as the organisers claimed to have had enough sponsorship for the same. The importance given to this Conference can be gauged by the fact that 3 Masters of Wine, Elizabeth Gabay, Jo Ahearne and Job de Swart were roped in along with Deborah Parker Wong DipWSET among others, to talk about various facets of Blending. Many of the Presentations included tastings focusing on their topic.

2-Day Conferences

“Trends in the Japanese wine market”, “New business opportunities for bulk wine”, “New trends in wine consumption in the US marketplace”, “Vineyard and climate change”, “Trends in the wine market of the Scandinavian countries” and “Bag-in-box: an expanding market” are only a few of the topics that international experts such as Robert Joseph, Megumi Nishida and Deborah Parker Wong discussed at this year’s WBWE during sessions, many of them being moderated discussions. As is the tradition, the 2-day conference was opened by Pau Roca, the newly appointed Director General of the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) and was his first public appearance holding such position where the world wide production and consumption with special reference to bulk wine, was presented.

Silent Open Tasting Room
One of the WBWE’s most visited areas is the Silent Tasting Room, an exclusive open area tasting room, where one may taste more than 400 wine samples independently where the wine characteristics are very well-documented for every wine sample. Buyers and brokers can taste the entire world’s harvest in a single day.

There were several other regular features like Gourmet Tasting corner, Voice of Wine Award (won by the government of La –Mancha), Bulk Wine Club and Vine Research and Innovation which had their regular favourites visiting them.

WBWE-Business Plan

During these last ten years, the focus of the World Bulk Wine Exhibition has shifted from being a trade fair to a complex business and discussion platform that provides many opportunities thanks to the multiple alternative activities like above which have been implemented.

After this successful evolution, the organisers have decided to take WBWE to China next year on May 30-31 in Yantai-known as the wine city of Chine because of 82% of bulk wine being imported into this port city. More information about the Exhibition will be forthcoming soon but it will bring the world bulk wine producers to one of the biggest bulk wine importing country.

For more information, visit www.worldbulkwine.com.

For a few of the earlier Articles, please visit:

WBWE 2018: Art of Blending Wine –the Key Conference on November 26-27 in Amsterdam RAI

WBWE 2017: Achieving Success with Private Label Wines in India

WBWE 2017: Another Successful Edition of World Bulk Wine Exhibition

OIV: Lowest Global Wine Production in 2017 since 1961

WBWE 2016: Evolution of Bulk Wine Market

WBWE 2016: Record Performance during the 8th edition in Amsterdam

WBWE 2015 closes with Record Participation

WBWE 2014 : Wonderful World of Bulk Wines in Amsterdam

Subhash Arora

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