With China’s wine consumption continuing to grow the country has been chosen as the site for the 2019 International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show (IBWSS) in November, following previous editions in London and San Francisco, the organiser Beverage Trade Network has announced.
The choice of Shanghai, the de facto wine capital in mainland China, as the host city has been hailed by the organiser as “emblematic of the changing structure and dynamic of the global wine industry.”
China ranks as the world’s seventh biggest wine producer, as well as the leading import designation for red wine, so “it’s perhaps no surprise that China is finally getting its own bulk wine, bulk spirits and private label show”, the organiser concluded.
It’s no secret that China is a leading bulk import country, mainly from Spain, Chile and Australia. About two thirds of Chile’s wine exports to China, for instance, consist of bulk wine. In 2017, the country imported about 180.6 million litres of bulk wine, valued at US$158.89 million, representing a year-on-year growth of 25.5% in volume and 40.8% rise in value, according to Chinese customs figures.
Demand for bulk wine last year in the country surged as prices for bottled wines rose as did the popularity of lower-end wines sold on e-commerce platforms. Bulk wine consumption in the country is mostly generated from supermarket and e-commerce channels by consumers living in lower-tier cities, towns and villages.
Meanwhile, the country’s wine production capacity has been increasingly recognised with award-winning wines made from different regions, though the country’s annual production has been slowly declining each year for five years now. There are now 450 wineries scattered across China and six major wine producing regions (Hebei, Ningxia, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang and Yunnan).
“As a result, many of the trends that have been observed in other, more developed wine markets – such as the rapid growth of the private label wine & spirits industry – are now making their way to China. That has opened the door for foreign players to participate in a myriad of different ways within the Chinese wine industry,” said the organiser.
“Just as Australian bulk wine producers ship their wines via container ships to Britain, where they are then bottled and packaged, that same dynamic is starting to emerge in China, which already has a large number of retail chains offering their own private label products. In order to meet consumer demand for wine, China is now turning to bulk producers around the world,” it continued.
The trade fair scheduled from 11-12 November in Shanghai will be a professional networking and sourcing platform for producers, manufacturers, distributors, brand owners, and retailers
Consisting of both a vibrant trade show floor and a smaller two-day business conference, the IBWSS show will allow participants to learn more about important trends in the marketplace while getting their specific questions answered by some of the top names in the industry. Over a two-day period, exhibitors will have a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the most important names within the Chinese industry.
In addition, Beverage Trade Network is developing a business conference agenda for the event during the fair that will be of value to all participants in the global bulk wine and spirits industry. The event will feature an all-star lineup of top wine industry experts and insiders, who will share their insights and advice on how to succeed within the global bulk wine and spirits industry. Participants will learn how Chinese wine & spirits drinkers differ from those in other markets (especially those of North America and Western Europe), how the Chinese regulatory environment impacts the success of any bulk wine programme, and different ways that bulk wine & spirits producers are ramping up their China strategies.
However, with the country’s growing appetite for bulk wines, there are concerns about counterfeit and copycat wines, where some distributors in China import bulk wines and bottle the wines using their private labels – often made to mimick more famous châteaux and wineries – selling for less than one euro, landing them the moniker ‘one euro’ wine or more commonly ‘OEM wines’ within China.