How IBWSS SF can meet all your wine buying needs
There will be greater focus than usual on this year’s International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show in San Francisco in November between 9 & 10, 2021 as, for many in the trade, it will be the first time that producers, buyers, importers and distributors, have been able to get together to talk, network and do business face to face since early 2020.
The global wine supply chain has been stretched and pulled like never before over the last 16 months as the world has grappled to come to terms with the impact of Covid-19 on all the major international wine markets. It has resulted in huge peaks in demand for certain wines and major slumps for others as large parts of the world’s wine sector were either booming - like in the retail and online channels - or as in the on-premise closed completely.
It means there will be an even greater focus than usual on this year’s International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show in San Francisco in November between 9 and 10, 2021 as, for many in the trade, it will be the first time that producers, buyers, importers and distributors, have been able to get together to talk, network and do business face to face since early 2020.
That would be reason enough to travel to San Francisco, but you also have to factor in the huge growing issues there are in 2021 around the world in terms of sourcing and supply. Both the northern and southern hemispheres have seen huge swings in volumes and quality from the 2020 and 2021 harvests respectively. These are now having a serious knock-on effect in terms of the amount of wine available to buy from key wine-producing regions.
Frosts in vineyard
Central to the sourcing issues is the unusually low harvest in New Zealand, with official estimates claiming a 20% drop in production, but it is thought to be even lower in some key areas with enormous pressure, in particular, on allocations of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand Winegrowers says it expects there to be a shortage of at least seven million nine-litre cases out of the country this year.
The New Zealand situation is sending shockwaves around the world as Sauvignon Blanc has become crucial to so many retailers and on-trade operators and their wine programs.
Then in France and northern Italy, the situation is thought to be even worse in some regions as harsh 2021 spring touches of frost caused enormous damage in key regions such as the Loire and Burgundy. It remains to be seen how that eventually plays out with the 2021 harvests but volumes are expected to be considerably down on average across key parts of northern Europe.
New Zealand Wine Region
Quite how the world’s major wine-producing countries can recover going into 2022 will be a key topic of debate at IBWSS San Francisco. Buyers will be anxious to secure allocations and their volumes of wine from their major wine markets, but with the increased expectation that they will need to spread their wings and look to new and emerging markets to potentially take up and make up the slack.
All of which is good news for the major East European wine countries, led by Romania, Hungary Moldova and Georgia. Each of which has invested enormously over the last decade in planting large vineyard areas with the major in-demand international varieties. Proving both good quality wines, but crucially at price points that can match - or better - anywhere in the world.
They will have a crucial role to play at this year’s IBWSS giving buyers the chance to taste and buy wines they may not have come across before. Georgia, for example, is represented at the show by Member Wines which produces a wide range of Georgian wines and spirits.
Private label opportunity
Private Label Wine
The IBWSS will once again be a meeting ground for both branded and private label wine with exhibitors able to offer both sources of supply for buyers looking at exclusive opportunities for their portfolio. The demand for own-label wines, in particular, has increased enormously in the US in recent years as retailers and on-premise operators, alike, have seen the flexibility and control that managing your own wine label can bring.
That switch to private label is only going to get stronger as more players see the margin and profit opportunities there are too, particularly at a time when sourcing the right wine is going to be even harder than usual.
The US still lags behind Europe and the UK when it comes to private label, with the IBWSS claiming the average share is around 10%, up to 17-20% in some of the bigger retail chains, compared to 30% to 50% in supermarkets in the UK and Europe. But the tide is turning.
Brian Sharoff, president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association, says: “As retailers become as skilful with private label wines as they are with food, sales of these wines can only rise.”
This is particularly the case where retailers are also expanding their private label across all categories, he adds. They start to trust those products as much, if not more than their branded counterparts, which is particularly the case amongst the major US grocers in recent years.
Walmart Private Label Wines
“Private label is no longer a two euro a bottle wine market for the consumer. It gives retailers the opportunity to appeal to different customers. The market has changed,” says Sharoff.
Mike Drobnick, senior Vice President for B2B at O’Neill Vintners and Distiller, will be leading a session on how best to run a private label program at IBWSS on November 9 with a particular focus on what customers are looking for from a private label supplier.
It is that ability to bring together key experts in different parts of the bulk wine and spirits sector that has made the IBWSS show such an important show in such a short period of time. The two-day show in November will be vital for all those involved in the bulk sector.
* To find out more about IBWSS San Francisco click here.