Building on the momentum from Day 1 of the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show, the speakers and presenters from Day 2 of the IBWSS event explained how to get involved in the bulk wine and spirits industry. The day also included three well-attended workshops on how to create bulk wines that customers are actually going to drink.

If Day 1 of the event was more of a high-level view of what the bulk wine industry could offer participants – including a highlight of some of the potential profit opportunities – then Day 2 of event was dedicated much more to the granular details on what it means to transition to a bulk wine or private label business model.

For example, Earl Hewlette, CEO of Terressentia Corporation, started off the day with a detailed look at how to optimize revenue and profitability by selling bulk and private label spirits. Later in the day, Thomas Barfoed, Managing Director of JF Hillebrand USA, discussed how to optimize shipments of bulk wines and spirits. As Barfoed pointed out, once your business reaches a certain size, you really need to start thinking about optimizing your logistics chain.

The idea that just about anyone – from retailers to distributors to restaurants – could get involved in the bulk wine industry became one of the themes of the day. In fact, even if your brand doesn’t own a distillery, you can still get involved in the bulk and private label spirits industry, as Chris Mehringer, President of Park Street, explained in his morning presentation. He referred to this approach as an “asset-light” strategy. Later in the morning, Bob Paulinski MW, Head of Sourcing Wine at Coles Liquor Group, gave a well-attended presentation on “How Retailers and Restaurants Can Grow Their Private Label Brands.“

During the second part of Day 2, participants turned their attention to how to go about creating their own bulk and private label wines and spirits. Tim Hanni MW led a workshop-style session on what consumers in the market actually want, giving important insights for retailers, restaurant professionals and distillers. “Love the wine you drink,” he told participants.

That was followed by a workshop from Jose Santos, President and CEO of Enartis USA, who discussed how to create the perfect blends where everybody wins in the supply chain. Finally, Jeff Hansen, President of AH Wines, led a workshop about sourcing and creating wines for the Chinese market. His advice to participants was simple: “Sell it first, produce it second.”

Judging by the turnout on the exhibition hall floor, there’s plenty of enthusiasm for the bulk wine and private label market – it’s just a matter of finding the right opportunities. As Damien Wilson, Chair of Wine Business Educatio n, pointed out in his presentation, “Consumers love bulk wines…” So it’s really just a matter of navigating all the obstructions in the distribution channel that are designed to block fine wines from reaching consumers. It’s no longer the case, says Wilson, that it’s impossible to find great quality bulk wines.

And, as John Beaudette, President and CEO of MHW, Ltd., pointed out, the current cultural zeitgeist seems to favor new brands and any alcohol products that are craft-made. He referred to this as the “new brand/craft phenomenon,” and it’s capable of lifting brands out of obscurity and into the popular mainstream.

As participants noted throughout Day 2 of the IBWSS, there are plenty of ways to get involved in the bulk wine market. The same momentum around bulk wines that has been building in Europe now seems to be coming to the U.S. market. There were plenty of partnership opportunities available in the IBWSS exhibition hall at the South San Francisco Conference Center, so it’s really just a matter of finding the right partner that shares the same incentives and goals.


Danny Saltzman from Breakthru Beverage Group mentioned that it was “Great execution and overall conference so far. I am certainly excited for tomorrow’s agenda.”

Gary from Agajanian Vineyards and Wine company mentioned that the buyers that they have met at #ibwss17 knew exactly what they wanted, they came with a precise need and it was good to talk to them. It's been a great show for them so far!

Bree Boskov MW from Oregon Wine: IBWSS was an insightful conference, especially regarding the premiumization of high-quality grapes and wine.

What our exhibitors had to say- “Very good turnout for a new event, simple setup.”

“We met good quality buyers. Good representation in all the categories we were looking for - bulk, bottle and brand”

“Lots of industry members interested in sourcing high-quality bulk wines.”

“Quick connections to companies in need of bulk wine.

About the IBWSS

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show is an annual trade show and conference, open to trade professionals only, which takes place in San Francisco. IBWSS attendees include wineries, distilleries, importers, distributors, national and regional chains, and brokerage firms.

About Beverage Trade Network

Beverage Trade Network is the leading platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. In addition to San Francisco, Beverage Trade Network also hosts events in London, Australia and New York.