Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Friday read: Why bulk is the hot ticket in the face of climate change

Published:  15 July, 2022

In a rapidly warming world the wine industry needs to modernise and that means embracing bulk, argues Richard Lloyd, general manager at The Park, Europe’s largest wine packaging facility.

We have made it through some of the toughest challenges the industry has ever faced but we must now focus on navigating the ongoing crisis of climate change. A lot of companies are making invaluable changes to their operations in order to cut emissions and work in a more sustainable way. However, there are some lagging behind and some reluctant to change in what is a very traditional industry.

By shipping finished, bottled wines, producers are damaging the environment as well as their own operational budgets. It’s common knowledge now that consumers expect businesses to drive forward sustainable practices and have no hang ups on choosing a different brand if the one they’ve been loyal to is not sustainable.

    • READ MORE: Innovation Report – The glass debate

For winemakers, this makes bulk wine an obvious choice. Shipping in bulk reduces carbon emissions, cuts cost and – not so widely understood – also allows for tighter management on the quality of the finished product. Moreover, bottling the finished product in lightweight glass bottles has a considerable impact on the overall carbon footprint of the wine – what was once associated with lower quality wine, is now vital to reducing contributions to global warming, with no impact on the quality of the liquid.

Bulk wine containers, or flexitanks, enable more than double the volume of wine to be shipped per container compared to the finished bottle, which means that businesses can transport two and a half times more wine at reduced transportation costs. It really is the wisest option – not only is shipping in bulk beneficial for a business's bottom line, it’s also fast becoming the only shipping option that helps to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

One of the latest IPCC reports found that all sectors of the global economy, from energy to transport to food, must act rapidly in order to make a difference. While the wine sector is a small contributor to CO₂ emissions in comparison to some sectors, it does not mean we as an industry should be complacent about the effects our supply chains have on the environment.

Choosing to ship in bulk actually reduces CO₂ emissions by 40% when compared to bottled-at-source wines, and it also significantly reduces the amount of packaging required. The Park is Europe’s largest wine packaging company, we understand our responsibility within the industry and we are continuously seeking new ways to become more sustainable. At our certified carbon-neutral facility, we produce 25 million 9L case equivalents of wine each year and on site we have storage space for 250 containers, each containing around 24,000 litres of wine.

Choosing quality

One of the biggest myths about bulk wine is around quality. Many believe that wine shipped in bulk is a sign of low quality but far from it. This method of shipping actually gives producers more control over the finished product and wine makers can maintain consistency with every batch due to limited temperature fluctuations. Research shows that bulk wine only changes by around 2.5 degrees centigrade during transportation, far less than in bottles which can experience temperature fluctuations of up to 9.5 degrees centigrade, which is enough to irreversibly damage the wine during long periods of transportation.

Once the product arrives at The Park, our in-house experts critically test the liquid to ensure the quality has been preserved before it is bottled, bagged or canned. We do microbiological testing to ensure no spoilage, organoleptic testing to evaluate flavour, colour, odour, appearance and mouthfeel, and with a world leading oxygen control of 0.1ppm from tank to bottle, all wine that leaves The Park is perfect.

International shipping has been turbulent to say the least over the past two years. But, the flexibility of bulk wine offers a buffer against such challenges in order to maintain fluid supply for customers. By choosing to partner with experts, any bumps in the supply chain and uncertainty in price hikes can be mitigated by shipping in bulk.

Looking towards the end consumers choosing from hundreds of bottles on a shelf, brands need to be able to adapt to changing consumer attitudes and trends as well as short-term promotions so, by bottling wine closer to the time of marketing, brands can avoid missing out on opportunities to be on-trend and drive sales and profit. Shipping in bulk gives them the opportunity to do this.

Bulk wine brings unrivaled advantages to the industry, it is quality assured and provides excellent value for money so there’s no reason why more producers should not utilise this proven method. The process from grape to bottle offers a more personalised service for winemakers, with a focus on designing bespoke options to deliver packaging, distribution and supply chain solutions.

This modern method is shaking up the traditional wine world, giving major players in the industry a chance to collaborate directly with producers to make wine that speaks to the needs of their consumers. When it comes to shipping wine, bulk is best.