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World Bulk Wine Exhibition still going ahead in ‘most challenging show’ yet

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition will still go ahead at the end of the year, in what organisers are calling the “most challenging show” yet for wine businesses worldwide.

Trade shows worldwide have been postponed and cancelled as governments have imposed strict measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

In an alternate reality, by now many of us would be leafing through our latest collection of business cards and swapping gossip with our colleagues from a visit to ProWein in Düsseldorf two weeks ago.

Sadly, the show was scrapped altogether this year after the German government prohibited large gatherings of people.

Vinitally in Verona, the London Wine Fair, and the Raw Wine Fair are just a handful of other casualties of the trade show circuit. In fact, according to a report by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), more than 500 trade shows have not taken place in recent weeks, costing up to €23 billion (US$26 billion) in lost orders for exhibitors.

But for those scheduled to take place at the end of this year, it’s business as usual.

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition is still set to welcome producers and buyers from all corners of the winemaking world to Amsterdam on 23 and 24 of November in Amsterdam, and the organisers hope it will “inspire a sector that is going to need more drive than ever.”

Despite being much smaller than events like ProWein, WBWE is one of the most important shows in the calendar for the huge proportion of wine businesses that don’t bottle at source. Bulk wine makes up approximately 40% of all wine sold in the UK.

In a statement, the organisers of the show said: “We are working hard in order to rise to the occasion and provide the best business platform for all-sized companies.”

“Renowned professionals from the sector have already confirmed their attendance to the WBWE Amsterdam 2020 and we hope to announce much-needed good news very soon which will certainly push the boat out on November.”

The organisers added that its digital offering, the Bulk Wine Club (BWC), is still open for business. BWC provides a forum for users to source figures and data provided by the OEMV (Spanish Wine Market Observatory) as well as read articles from wine writers who report exclusively for the bulk wine sector.

WBWE will take place in a year that, even before whole countries went into lockdown, saw experts warning of oversupply, grape gluts and record low prices.

But there is some hope from the retail sector. According to recent figures from Kantar, sales of wine, beer and spirits in UK supermarkets, where a large quantity of bulk wine is sold, rose 22% over the past four weeks, showing that even when consumers are stockpiling, they see these drinks as essential.

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