Are we overestimating the future profitability of cannabis?


According to the best information available about two to three percent of the global population uses cannabis-products regularly. A number that is still far below the consumption of alcoholic beverages, such as wine. Until recently marihuana was either illegal, or only available as prescription drug. But times are changing, last year we saw the first multi-billion dollar investment by one of the largest winery groups.

What Constellation Brand’s recent investment in cannabis company Canopy Growth tells us, is that they view wine and cannabis-derived products as the similar category’s. A view that might still be controversial in Europe but is gaining momentum fast. Today there is 20 countries that has legalised medical marihuana. Recreational use is more controlled and only fully allowed in Uruguay, Canada and nine states in the US. The strongest argument for the legalisation has been to tax the drug and prevent vast amounts of money entering the black market.

The wine industry has been watching the development from a distance, and since Canada legalised the drug in October 2018 it’s been more and more difficult to not have an opinion about it. Large investors are currently pushing up the stock prices of cannabis companies. Enterprises such as Canntrust, Tilray, Cannabix Technologies and Aurora Cannabis are seen as the next big thing by investors that feel that they missed the boat on Apple, Google and Amazon.

The investment case is that these early marihuana businesses will profit greatly once the drug becomes legal on the federal level in the US. Marihuana exports to the US might well become a multi-million dollar business over night. But are we not overestimating the profitably of the cannabis business?

Should wineries invest in cannabis companies?

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Do consumers care about the morality of copycat wine brands?

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Sainsbury´s have replaced Chile’s number one brand `Casillero del Diablo´ with its own `Camino del Angel´. It’s a controversial move because they are clearly benefiting from the design similarities, and piggybacking on major investments done by Concha y Toro in the UK. But who cares? And what wine brand will suffer next.

Copycat wine brands put pressure on producers

Copycat store brands or (retailer copycat brands) are nothing new, they have been used to drive revenue and profits from wineries to retailers. By creating a copycat wine, the Supermarkets sends a clear signal to all wineries “if you raise prices, we will hit you back – hard”. To ensure quality retailers analyse the contents of a leading manufacturer brand. and then re-create the product step by step, a process called reverse engineering. Producers often prefer to think that there is something inherently unique with their wines, and maybe they are right. But consumers generally can’t tell the difference, as seen from data by Vivino.

Consumers can’t really tell the difference

The copycat brand Camino del Àngel Cabernet Sauvignon has an average rating of 3,3 stars out of 350 ratings. Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon has a rating of 3,5 stars out of 83214 ratings. Objectively speaking, Sainsbury seems to have done a hell of a good job with their private label.

The solution: wineries needs to work with their USP

Wineries needs to work with their unique selling points to stay relevant to supermarket wine buyers. The only way wineries can protect themselves is by creating strong unique selling points. The problem that Casillero del Diablo and so many wine brands face is that they are building their unique selling points with storytelling. There is nothing tangible with the Casillero del Diablo that deserves a price-price-premium, and the supermarkets can smell it. Combine this with the remarkable quality improvements made by bulk wine producers and you have a complicated future ahead for winery brands. One must remember that one of the reasons Casillero del Diablo is Chile’s number one brand is that it was one of the few wines that was well made some 20 years ago. Today well made wine is a commodity.

What do you think about this whole topic? Write your comments below!

Buy vegan wine in bulk (vegan bulk wine)

Get your vegan bulk wine from us, click the link below.

Get your vegan bulk wine from us, click the link below.

Bulk wine buyers still find it difficult to find bulk wines that are Vegan. Large buyers, in for example the Scandinavian countries, are currently pressuring their suppliers to use vegan friendly processes. But It takes time for large wineries to adjust their production methods, and even longer to get the final decision approved. The need for began bulk wine is predicted to rise also in the US, England, Holland and Germany. 

At Premium Wine Broker we have reason to believe that vegan wines will outnumber non-vegan wines within 20 years, but we are not there yet.

What is vegan wine? 

Vegan wines are produced without any processes, ingredients or help (such as vineyard horse) derived from the animal kingdom. All young wines are slightly hazy and contain particles. The fastest way to make a young wine clear is through a process called “fining”. The issue is that the fining agents used for this process can be derived from animals, agents such as casein, albumin, gelatine and isinglass are common. Instead of using these products, vegan wines are using for example Bentonite, a sort of clay. Another ingredient that is unsuitable for vegan wine is the enzyme Lysozyme (E 1105) that is sometimes used to stop the malolactic fermentation. 

Vegan as “unique selling point”

All wines need to have a unique selling point, and vegan might just be the one you want to use. We recommend using “vegan” as a complement to other concepts on your wine label. It’s clear to us that consumers consider a vegan wine more clean and healthy, even non-vegans have positive ideas about vegan wine. 

Where do I find vegan wine in bulk? 

The problem that many private label owners are facing is that most bulk wine wineries do not produce vegan wines, in fact, very few does. This will change in time, but at the moment sourcing a continuous supply of vegan bulk wine is a hassle. As the first bulk wine broker do to so, we have sought out a wide variety of premium quality bulk wines produced in a vegan friendly manner. 

Our vegan bulk wines

After sampling close to all vegan bulk wines on the market we have come to the conclusion that the best value wines in the vegan category are to be found in Romania. Perhaps unexpectedly Romania has a similar vineyard size as Chile and Portugal, but close to no reputation in export markets. 2017 was a key year in the history of Romanian wine, the poor harvests elsewhere in Europe made buyers consider Romanian wine seriously for the very first time. Buyers with a sharp eye for value have been dealing with Romanian wine since the 1990s, but quality has always been better elsewhere. This is no longer true, as any taster of our selection can see for themselves. 

Tempranillo | Our bulk wines

Clever packaging, a good strategy for Tempranillo.

Clever packaging, a good strategy for Tempranillo.

In this series of posts we would like give a short introduction to the different bulk wine varietals we are broking. As you might well know, our ambition is to select the best bulk wines after every harvest. The quality should be noticeably better that the average, and the wineries we work with should be just eager and flexible as us. 

Where to find bulk wine Tempranillo 

Tempranillo is a grape with a long history in Spain dating back to at least the thirteenth century. The birthplace is very likely to be the wine regions of Rioja and Navarra. Bunches are medium-sized (sometimes large) and compact, with with small thick skinned berries. The majority of the Tempranillo bulk wines comes from the vast arid highlands of Castilla La-Mancha, Spain. It’s possible to talk about regional differences in wine style in Castilla La-Mancha, but more important is the ambitions and capabilities of the growers and producers. 

The yields of Tempranillo in Spain depends on the vineyard site. Less qualitative areas bring large yields but lower color intensity, concentration and acidity. Finding the right cooperative or privately owned wine producer is tricky, there are hundreds of wine producers in Spain offering bulk wine Tempranillo. It’s a misstake to believe that the quality of commercial bulk wines derive exclusively from the vineyard, investments in good winery equipment will influence the end result to a great degree.

Market reputation of Tempranillo 

Due to the large amount of Spanish Tempranillo available on the market every year, the price is commonly the lowest of the red varietals. This makes it very popular for entry-level wine brands, but also as the first red wine to introduce in new wine markets such as China or Nigeria. The character of Tempranillo bulk wines are generally soft and fruity, so most consumers are familiar with the taste profile.

Marketing bulk wines made with Tempranillo 

For consumers, the name Tempranillo says little about the quality of the wine. It adds no real value to the product, but doesn’t give any negative associations either. Therefore, we generally recommend not putting the emphasis on the wine grape, but in other concepts. Successful clients of ours have sometimes used humor and created laid-back wine concepts appreciated by wide consumer segments.   

Best supplier of OEM wines in Spain? 

For OEM-wines destined for the Chinese market, we collaborate with Chinese label designers. The result is that our labels look more familiar and properly composed for the Chinese end user.

For OEM-wines destined for the Chinese market, we collaborate with Chinese label designers. The result is that our labels look more familiar and properly composed for the Chinese end user.

OEM WINE: The interest we have received from China lately is very exiting, finally Chinese wine importers and distributors seems to have discovered VPN-services, enabling them to search Google for OEM wine producers. Being featured as one of the top wine brokers in Europe by IBWSS last month is probably another factor why we have such as spike in web visits from China. We’ve had five distributors asking the same question – who is the best supplier of OEM wines in Spain? 

One thing is certain, it’s not who you think it is. It is a common practice for many Chinese distributors to try to deal directly with the producers (wineries), but these relationships are far from effective and are seldom properly matched. Very few wineries go to trade fairs in China, and the ones that do needs to increase their prices to cover their extra costs. There is over 3000 wineries in Spain, what are the chances that a wine distributor in China finds the perfect OEM provider on a trade fair in Shanghai? 

Guess what, the wineries with the best prices don’t do marketing activities, or very little. Their business model relies on low overhead costs and they seldom have english speaking staff. One of the true experts in the Chinese OEM business is Eddie Wong who runs the consulting agency He has been of great help to us when we first started to help Chinese buyers with finding OEM suppliers.

List of OEM wine producers 

The OEM wine producers we work with are all specially selected for the Chinese market. With advice from Eddie Wong we have come to understand what aspects are the most important for the Chinese. First of all it’s pricing. Because our OEM suppliers don’t spend money on marketing activities they can provide their services at least 20% cheaper that comparable wineries. Secondly for OEM-wines destined for the Chinese market, we collaborate with Chinese label designers. The result is that our labels look more familiar and properly composed for the Chinese end user. To our knowledge, Premium Wine Broker is the only company employing Chinese freelancers in this manner. 

Small scale bulk wine transportation | Q&A with our supplier of IBCs and One-Trip containers

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As premium quality private labels are becoming a popular strategy, smaller batches of high-end wines need to be shipped from winery to winery. A small addition of a carefully selected wine can make miracles to a final blend. Wines are also taken from wineries unbottled for bottling at a contract bottler, this is especially common if the wine is to be packaged in cans or any other special format, wineries seldom have specialised bottling lines. When making market tests of new brands it’s also common to start with small volumes. It saves a lot of money to start smaller, there is instances where a 25,000 litre flexi-tank is just way too much. 

In fact, small scale bulk wine transportation is nothing new, Amphorae were the ancient world’s standardised way to transport wine and oak barrels took over hundreds of years ago. Whoever studied the great wines of Bordeaux or Burgundy know well that small scale bulk wine transportation was the norm until chateau-bottling gained popularity in the early 20th century.

Due to several factors, such as the environment and economic pressures, the global craze of in-house bottling seems now to be in decline. The industry is currently re-learning about what is commonly called `small scale bulk wine transportation´. To get valuable insights we sat down with Nick Jones, head of technical sales at Arlington Packaging (UK). Arlington is a company having a range of innovative products for the efficient and economical handling of bulk quantities of liquids. 

Arlington’s tagline is “the future of liquid handling” how does that future look like? 

– In a world driven ever increasingly towards improved quality standards, risk management as well as lower cost within the supply chain the products and services supplied by Arlington Packaging become more and more relevant. Arlington’s tagline “leaders in liquids handling” reflects the company’s industry leading expertise in the area of one-trip and returnable bulk liquids handling with single use liners. To answer the question more directly, the future looks busy. 

What sizes do the containers come in? 

– The containers range between 250 and 1000 litres. Obviously volumes larger than 1000 litres simply require more containers and volumes of less than 1000 litres can be filled into the nearest available sized container. Where a container is only part filled however the liner bag inside ensures the product is not in contact with the unused headspace removing the need for gas flushing and any risk of oxidisation. Arlington containers are optimised to maximise shipping, general transport and storage efficiency thus further work to help drive costs down.

Will operators in the wineries require training?

– Arlington work with their customers to ensure the correct fit of packaging for both the product and the environment in which it is to be used. The systems are not by nature complicated and Arlington will advise on best practices and minimum operator intervention procedures. In general  operators can be instructed through the use of dedicated on-line videos. 

Do the wines need special preparation in terms of filtering or higher levels of sulphur dioxide?

– By matching the product to the correct liner – in this case one of our range of metallised ultra-low permeability liners – no special preparation should be required.

What is the most common reason your clients ship a few thousand litres of wine? 

– There are many reasons why our customers will ship smaller volumes of wine, everything from supply into the food preparation industry to supply into UK en vrac wine shops. The main reason however is the need, particularly at the very cost sensitive lower end of the market, to remove every extra penny of cost from the supply chain. Shipping heavy and space inefficient glass bottles around is not the most cost effective way. This area of the market has in the past used large lined containers for shipping in bulk however Arlington’s bag-in-box IBC’s offer more flexibility, a better containment environment at lower risk and generally cost

Is there any wines you discourage clients to ship in an IBC? 

– The main thing to remember with this kind of liquids transport container is that it is not a pressure vessel. As such it would not be appropriate for any liquids that need transporting or storing above atmospheric pressure eg sparkling wines. Fine for products which may produce low level fermentation or similar gases but not for anything more volatile.

Do you consider the bulk wine industry to be a interesting business focus? 

– As specialists in our field we have a number of niche industries that we have made our own. We’ve done this be taking the time to understand the issues facing producers solving problems and tailoring our offering so suit their needs. Our experience of the wine industry so far is that it is an environment with producers who are passionate about their product and who appreciate working with suppliers who take any issues as seriously as they do. We supply some of the industries we are in because they require our specialist knowledge to resolve problems which are specific to them. This is both interesting and profitable for us.

The Bulk Wine Club – key resource for successful bulk wine business

Correct information is the basis for successful bulk wine trading. PHOTO CREDIT: Premium Wine Broker

Correct information is the basis for successful bulk wine trading. PHOTO CREDIT: Premium Wine Broker

Bulk wine buyers have very few specialised `essential´ sites, one of them is The Bulk Wine Club. Content is not free, but then again, most quality information seldom is. The Bulk Wine Club is essentially an on-line platform for the bulk wine industry, both sellers and buyers have a range of services they can benefit from. 

The club is run by World Bulk Wine Exhibition, something that for obvious reasons gives the club credibility is the founders. The World Bulk Wine Exhibition is by far the most important meeting for the bulk wine trade. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. This year is a bit special because they celebrate their 10th anniversary. The fair is on the 26th and 27th of November, always in Amsterdam. 

Below I’ll list the two membership benefits that I’m most exited about. This is not a complete list of benefits, just the ones I find the most powerful for my clients. 

1. Bulk wine news

One of my favourite parts of the platform is the news section, where they publish the latest bulk wine news, company reports, statistics and market studies. This is information that is really challenging to find from other sources. The same applies for the detailed and constantly updated information on bulk wine prices – this should be a resource for everybody trading in bulk wine.


2. Events beyond WBWE  

A service I hope they continue to develop is the bulk wine related events. The first one, to my knowledge will be the California Business Wine Tour on the 24th to the 26th of June. This is a quite unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about the bulk wine market in the United States. The event seems to be packed with keynotes, face-to-face meetings, winery visits and more. Events like these serve an important role in opening up the bulk wine industry to newcomers and I’ll hope to see more of these in the future.