The bulk shipping debate continues

May 2015

Four out of ten bottles of wine drank in the UK are bottled here – a strong stat that was the opening line of the first industry talk, held at the 2015 London Wine Fair. The discussion brought together a group of experts from across the sector to debate the value of bulk shipping to the wine industry and the UK economy.

Many taking part in the debate focused on the growth of bulk shipping, discussing the relevance, immediacy and flexibility it offers, not only mirroring customer demand but also showcasing excellence in manufacturing in the UK. While this was championed by some in the discussion, others felt that the value of bottling at source provided a more complete picture for the end consumer, as well as jobs in the local wine producing areas.

The conclusion was the wine industry, like the food, car and overall beverage sectors, should have complementary options that allow the customers to drive demand. Entry level products to create interest, elite options to showcase expertise and mid-range offerings that maintain loyalty. Provenance comes at all levels of the production chain, whether bottled at source or bottled in bulk this can be guaranteed.

Whether consumers want Fairtrade labels, recycled glass, a specific vintage, an ethical supply chain, or simply a cost effective solution for their Friday night; choice is key, and the market needs to support that choice. The summation delivered suggested guiding our customers to better educate their customers about the options available to them and also pointed to better labelling to support that. Ultimately, the debate around bulk versus bottling at source would rumble on; but the real winner will be the industry and the end consumer.

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