Cristina V Miranda is director of marketing and communication for the World Bulk Wine Exhibition and has been involved with the fair since it was launched.
What makes WBWE different?
The fair’s creators, Vicente Sánchez Migallón and Otilia Romero de Condés, have been linked to the wine sector all their lives, always with a very entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mentality. The idea of a trade fair devoted to pre-bottled wine — an important part of our industry, which had had little transparency — was a groundbreaking concept.
Why was Amsterdam chosen as the venue?
Choosing a city that was not in a wine-producing country but had an international airport was one of the keys to success. Amsterdam is a city where you would always feel like going! This is essential in a post-COVID world as we are getting better and better at choosing our travel destinations. There is something about the WBWE that is still unique, and retaining that and expanding our potential audience are our main challenges.
What are the biggest changes you have seen over the years, in both exhibitors and attendees?
The great challenge has always been to focus on quality and to increase the value of the bulk wine trade. Wineries and producers from over 22 different countries present wines that have just been produced, offering the chance to taste the most recent harvest from across the world in two days, and to compare a huge range of styles. It’s the most creative wine fair in the world because you have to bring an open mind to imagine all the possibilities these wines can offer.
Is there a typical exhibitor?
Large producers, brokers, cooperatives, and logistics companies never miss the WBWE, since it is of key importance for them, and many wait until November to close their annual contracts. But, every year, the WBWE welcomes new medium-sized producers who sell high quality bulk wines and who had not considered coming to the fair until now. There are producers who are considering other ways of adding value to their wine, maybe through in-market bottling or finding a partner to provide the best possible outlets for their wines. Sustainability is increasingly being taken into account.
At WBWE, we have specialised in being “matchmakers”, helping producers find the right partners, including destinations that had never been considered before. Even the smallest producers can draw inspiration from the WBWE.
And is there a typical visitor?
How does each event reflect the moment of time when it takes place?
The WBWE is probably the world’s most harvest-related wine fair. Our exhibitors include the world’s major producers who close annual deals at the fair. One of WBWE's strongest tasks is to act as an all-year-round information platform.
So, we’re not a static two-day fair. We work with international observatories throughout the year to receive exclusive harvest, export, and import data, and offer it to our clients to enable them to make the best decisions.
How big a part do the conference/seminar sessions play in the event?
The conference is a chance to connect with those who are driving the industry. Our aim is to reveal what is really going to shape the business. We started talking about sustainability, canned wine and zero-alcohol before anybody else. Just as we were pioneers in creating this fair, we are interested in starting conversations that will define the future, when there’s still time to make decisions.
The ‘silent tasting’ is one of the WBWE features that people talk about. How does it work?
It is a tremendously simple but very efficient tool that has been widely copied, but without the same results. We offer visitors the chance to taste without having to visit a stand or face a salesperson.
And it’s interesting for exhibitors because it makes every conversation worthwhile.
People often imagine that ‘bulk wine’ only refers to cheap and very basic stuff, but the category now includes premium and organic wines, doesn’t it?
Of course, the finest wines are still bottled by their producers, but that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about quality wines that bring value to both producers and consumers. The realization is growing that many popular brands start as bulk wine.
What is the rationale behind the IBWC bulk wine competition?
The same approach that underlies the entire fair: our focus on quality, on dignifying this sector and helping importers to understand the value of these wines.
We invite prestigious international wine judges and purchasing managers to taste bulk wines presented at the fair. Assessing bulk wines takes particular skill, but everyone is always surprised by the quality of many of the entries.
What are you most looking forward to at the 2023 show?
You can browse through the conference program; we believe it’s the best we have organised so far!