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Posted: Friday, 06 December 2019 07:35

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WBWE 2019: 11th World Bulk Wine Exhibition concludes successfully

Dec 06: Another edition of the annual 2-day wine event encompassing the world bulk wine business concluded successfully on December 3 at the regular venue Amsterdam RAI where 260 wineries and 450 producers from 24 countries exhibited with 6,000 wine professional from 60 nationalities attending the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) writes Subhash Arora who is a regular visitor here and also a judge at the World Bulk Wine Competition held a day earlier on December 1

Besides increase in the total stand space of around 5% higher, despite the lower harvest this year, there were also spirits producers participating for the first time. The regular features- Wine Conferences, Art of Blending workshops, The Silent Room. Vine and Wine Experience, Gourmet Area etc were all tastefully planned and executed, as always.

The WBWE is the only fair in the world that is capable of getting together buyers and sellers looking at transacting 80% of the global bulk wine supply business in two days under the same roof. It claims to be the biggest international event of its kind devoted to the bulk wine and encouraging packaging at destination and private labels.

The Eastern Europe Block

The well established producing countries like Spain, France, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, Chile and Australia were there once again with their wines but the emerging producing markets of Eastern Europe including Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia made an impressive showing once again and if the quality were a criterion (price is usually cheaper from these countries), there was an excellent proposition for the buyers.

A Masterclass on Moldovan wines presented by Ion Luca of Carpe Diem Wines was an excellent experience of their quality when we tasted 5 wines packaged in chic labels. Andrian Digolean, Executive Director of Wines of Moldova which had organised one of the most impressive and biggest stands and equally impressive wines said, ‘Moldova is used to making wines for thousands of years. We were regular exporters till 2006 to Russia when due to political reasons our wines were banned by them. Our wines have even improved in quality since and we are promoting hard to get bigger international market share’. He seemed to be pleased with Moldova participating at the Show as one of the biggest stands.

Visiting Burgundy

It was a pleasant surprise to visit a stand of Burgundy wine brokers MLC Vins that had over 30 wines from different parts of Burgundy, Maconnais, Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, and Beaujolais and even a spattering of Cote Du Rhone wines. It was genuine Burgundy available at very decent prices-it was well worth tasting their Pommard 2017, a sure winner for Burgundy enthusiasts. The Cru Beaujolais from villages like Morgon and Fleurie were delightful and a great value for import for private labelling. They are regulars at the Exhibition at the same stand C-21 every year!

New Zealand- a new participant

There are always a few bulk wine producers from Australia but a New Zealand producer caught my eyes; I saw Giesen Wines Ltd., a well-respected winery. Kyle Skene, the General Manager of the brand already represented in India, had the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in Giesen and other brands they can bottle for private labels. When I quizzed him on their presence and experience in the WBWE, he said, ‘We have expanded our production and till we are able to find the market to absorb the complete extra production, we have decided to enter bulk wine market too.’ Kyle was very happy with the visitors to the stand and their profile and said a resounding yes when I asked him about the response and whether they would participate again next year.’ I suspect they will be hooked to the bulk wine market for a long time.

The Silent Room

One does not need to taste only with the producers. The Silent Room offers a great opportunity to taste wines in isolation, with individual technical specifications provided and at his or her own pace. The taster can then shortlist the ones they like, before meeting the producers. This is a very popular section of the exhibition.

Logistics

Besides the liquid, the Show focuses on logistics suppliers like flexi-tank and other equipment manufacturers too. I found particularly interesting the stand from ConeTech Dealcoholising Technology and Services that makes equipment in the USA, France and Spain- with the alcohol reduction of up to 2% as allowed by law without significantly stripping the flavour. They are also doing good business in equipment that can bring down the alcohol level to 0.0 % (guarantying to 0.05%) that should have a great demand in India for teetotalers. The wines I tasted and liked were white- sweetened to balance the loss of flavour. Sparkling wine at 0.05% was passable if you were pregnant or addicted to bubbles. However, I found the red needed some more work to keep the flavours intact. Arnaud Brière of B&S Company, the Exclusive Partner in Europe for ConeTech Services and Technologies tended to agree with me

Improving Quality

Aided by the excellent vintage in general, the quality of wines seemed to have improved a lot this year. At the World Bulk Wine Competition, our Panel no. 1 presided by me, found the quality of white wines superlative. Reds were not as charming in our panel, whites were very impressive, some even ready to be bottled. A Jury of 27 international wine experts awarded 4 Gold medals and 43 Gold Medals out of about 240 samples. Following Grand Gold Medals were awarded:

Les Vignerons de Montfrin (France) Coted du Rhone Grenache Syrah2019

Dee Vine Estate Chardonnay (Australia) 2019

Bodegas Vinival Moscatel de Alejandria (Spain) 2018

Grupo Peñaflor Malbec Premium 2018 (Argentina) 2018

Conferences and Seminars        

The quality of conferences and Seminars has been also getting better and better. As is the tradition at WBWE, the inaugural address by Pau Roca, Director General of OIV, who had flown especially to make the Presentation of the Production and Consumption Statistics of the global business 2019, set the ball rolling for the conferences that followed for 2 days. There was an emphasis on The Art of Blending and Sustainability which is the burning topic of the day. With the increased emphasis on the bottling at destination to reduce the carbon footprints, the topics focused more on the contemporary period. There were also a couple of panel discussions. Details may be viewed on the website www.worldbulkwine.com

The bulk wine challenge: environment, climate change and new business opportunities, were a few of the topics also discussed at the seminars. Keeping to its tradition, participation was encouraged from the audience besides the experts in every seminar.

Another interesting subject discussed during the Show was the alternative packaging methods, such as canned wine, bag-in-box, kegs, etc. This is currently a niche market finding younger buyers very interested. The bulk wine sector is playing a very important role in encouraging this trend.

On to Yantai

With 11 successful editions and the quite successful maiden edition of WBWE Asia held in Yantai last May, the next edition is already planned for May 20-30 in the same city.

For a few of earlier related Articles, please visit:

WBWE: Bulk Wine Expo opens Doors to Distilled Spirits in 11th Edition

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

And now on to Yantai!

Subhash Arora

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