Questions Asked by US Bulk Wine Producers

Q1 – Another winery is doing a custom crush for me, and will be producing and bottling my wine.  How do I get a label approval?

Federal regulations require that the bottling winery must submit the label for approval.  Even though the wine is produced and bottled for you and/or will be distributed exclusively (or not) by you, the bottler/importer is responsible for getting the label approval.

Q2- I operate a domestic winery and I am making wine from grapes or juice that I have purchased from another state or country.  What appellation of origin may I use?

This is a complicated question, and the answer (see 27 CFR §4.25(b)) depends on the particular circumstances. State or local laws and regulations may be more restrictive than Federal laws and regulations in some instances, and, to use an appellation, the wine must conform to the laws and regulations of the named appellation area.  (Please note that we use here certain states or regions only as examples to illustrate certain different circumstances.)  We advise that you confer with state and local authorities regarding their requirements before finalizing your COLA submission.  Remember that your wine, and the records that you keep, must adequately support any claims which are made on your label. The following situations serve as examples.  There are certainly more factual circumstances that might have a different outcome.

Situation 1:   I am making a wine with grapes or juice originating from a state that is contiguous to (that is,  touching)  my own state (e.g. when California grapes are used to produce  wine in Oregon).Suppose that I have purchased Napa Valley, California, grapes that I will produce into wine in Oregon.

The most specific appellation of origin eligible for use is the name of the contiguous state (California).  A viticultural area appellation of origin (e.g. Napa Valley) may NOT  be used because the wine was not fully finished within that state.

Situation 2:  The state from which the winemaking material originates is not contiguous to the state in which the wine is produced. For example, California grapes have been purchased to produce wine in New York.

The most specific appellation of origin eligible – for use is a country appellation, such as “American.”  Note that when a country is used as an appellation of origin a vintage date is NOT permissible for the wine.

Situation 3:   I am purchasing grapes or juice from another country.  An appellation of origin may NOT be used, as this wine is not eligible for such claims (see 27 CFR §4.25(b)(2)(ii)).  A vintage date or a varietal designation (e.g. Merlot) may not appear  on the wine,  as both items require an appellation of origin present on the label.  The wine may be labeled only with  a more general class or type statement, such as “Red Wine” or “White Wine.”

Q3 – May a proprietor of a bonded wine premises transfer bulk wine to a bonded wine premises, brewery, or distilled spirits plant?


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bulk wine producers


How to Have Your Own Wine Label Without Having a Winery

On the surface, it almost sounds like an oxymoron – having your own wine label without having a winery. But private label wines are becoming an increasingly popular segment of the U.S. wine market, and for good reason: launching your own private label wine can boost revenue, increase profit margins, and help you create a unique brand identity that sets you apart from the competition.

Perhaps the best example of a private label wine business taking off is the Kirkland Signature line of wines at Costco, which is already the #1 wine retailer in the U.S. Through its exclusive partnerships with wineries in the United States, Costco is able to offer unique, premium wines at half the cost anywhere else. Similarly, Trader Joe’s has sold over 50 million cases of its private label wine since 2002.

And a growing number of retailers – including some national wine and liquor chains and supermarkets – are following suit, viewing the private label wine business as a way to boost revenue and grow margins. According to some estimates, the margins on private label wine bottles are 10-15 percent higher than on bottles from national brands like Kendall Jackson and Barefoot.

Plus, as wine experts point out, retailers are essentially shortening their supply chain by squeezing out some of the middleman who are making their mark-ups every time they sell a case of wine. You are getting your wine direct from the winery, after all.

As a result, it’s no longer out of the ordinary to see private label wines show up on the shelves of supermarkets. Even a few national wine and spirits stores, such as Total Wine, now offer private label wines. According to the current estimates, private label wines now account for approximately 5 percent of all wines sold in the United States, and that figure could be headed higher. Some projections call for private label wines to eventually account for 20 percent of the entire market.

That would make private label wines roughly the equivalent of other private label goods (i.e. private label pasta, private label canned goods) that supermarkets now sell. And in France and Italy, the private label wine market is even more popular, accounting for nearly one-third of all wines sold.

In addition to the economic appeal of these private label wines, there’s also the branding aspect that can help to differentiate companies from other restaurants or retailers. For example, the legendary Italian restaurant Carmine’s in New York City has used private label wines as part of its overall branding strategy. It has worked with wineries to create a range of different wines – Pinot Grigio, Chianti, Prosecco, Montepulciano and Trebbiano – that it can offer to customers as examples of small, family-made wines, which can be enjoyed as part of a family-style feast. For families and tourists on a budget, it’s a way to create a welcoming wine menu that is also true to the restaurant’s overall brand.

The important point to keep in mind is that a private label wine doesn’t say “private label” on the bottle. To the casual wine drinker, it looks just like any other wine they might drink. While Costco and Trader Joe’s customers may realize they are drinking private label wines, that’s not necessarily true in the restaurant and hospitality business.

In general, private label wines are starting to catch on as customers become more adventurous and daring in their choices. They may not recognize the wine or the label, but are tempted to try it and experiment. And, as we’ve seen already, having an eye-catching label is often just as effective as having a first-class wine in terms of attracting attention. The “snob appeal” of avoiding private label wines, if there ever was any, appears to be fading. After all, the bottle, the cork, and the label are no different. It’s just a matter of convincing a customer to try a $10-15 bottle of wine they may not recognize instead of a bottle of wine that’s 2-3 times more expensive.

If anything, the major trend is towards private, exclusive wines that are grown in limited quantities. So that’s how businesses can choose to position their private label wines. Instead of being used to attract cost-conscious customers, it’s a way to attract affluent, sophisticated customers. That may not be true for Costco, which is focused on selling huge quantities at low prices, but it certain works for the hospitality business, where there is a constant search to differentiate oneself from the competition. As a result, everyone from a national chain of steakhouses to a small boutique hotel chain might be interested in creating a private label wine.

Bottles of white wine in a bottling plant

Which leads to the obvious question: How do you get started if you want to own your own private label?

The first step, say industry insiders, is to figure out the types of wines that your customers enjoy drinking and what the average price of the bottles they are ordering is. From there, you need to make a few projections about the growth projections of your business. You don’t want to be ordering thousands of cases of wine, and then be stuck with dead inventory. Also, since every label must denote the place of origin of the wine, the wines you select should be a natural fit for the restaurant in terms of region and style of wine.

From there, it’s time to reach out to wineries that might potentially be interested in a deal. Some wineries are able to accommodate a wide range of order sizes – everything from 5 cases to 1000 cases – while other wineries prefer only to work on smaller or larger order sizes. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, the vintner will work with you on every aspect of creating your own wine – down to the creation of the label and even the type of cork. There are also independent design companies specializing in designing wine labels, cases and other promotional material. They will design a label that meets the specifications of the country you want to sell in and the tier you want to sell the wine in.

From there, all you have to do is place the order and you’ll soon have your private wine label, all without the time and expense of actually operating your own winery.

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10 Tips for Building Better Wine Businesses

1.Start by understanding your customer value proposition. Only part of this stems from your company’s unique heritage and / or personality. To be successful, this needs to be strongly linked to what your customers ultimately want from the experience of your brands. There is some excellent research on this that is publicly available. Getting it right is therefore not out of the reach of small companies.

2.Once you understand what customers value most, you can then remove what they don’t want (thereby reducing costs and freeing up cash), focus your communication on what they do want (often at no additional cost), differentiate your company on the basis of fulfilling customer needs more accurately than any competitor (again often at no extra cost) and raise prices (because your offering is more highly valued).

3.Always be asking the question–“If I could start with a blank canvas today what would our wine business look like?” It’s all too easy to let existing assets, existing product lines and existing ways of doing things blind us to what it is that our consumers value most. Often it’s simplicity. Complexity usually adds to costs and often only serves to confuse customers. Retaining unnecessary or irrelevant product lines, assets or business processes is the worst contributor.

4.Make everyone in the company accountable for securing customer preference. This is not just the job of marketing but of everyone in the company, the owner most particularly. Make this the focus of the way every employee innovates their job processes on a daily basis.

5.Invest in relationships. This is particularly so with major distribution partners. Make sure sufficient time and money is invested before demanding results. Be prepared to invest up front in bringing them to your home base and entertaining them in order to build enduring friendships.

6.Make all employees champions for profit. Develop a culture of honesty around net revenue. Make sure everyone knows the actual price achieved net of all discounts, rebates, bonus stock and anything else that might otherwise cloud the true profit picture. Keep them focused on reducing costs but let them know that a percentage increase in wine company revenue is, on average, twice as effective as the same percentage decrease in the cost of goods sold and 3-4 times as effective as the same percentage saving in operating expenses.

7.Optimise your pricing mix. Focus first on selling more, higher margin product in high value markets to high value customers. Beware of people in love with “big volume”. Big numbers make for big stories but often mean a lot of running around for no additional profit.

8.Build better business intelligence gathering systems–most companies are good at monitoring their own press. Very few have effective systems in place to monitor competitors, track changes in consumer preferences and turn customer feedback into customer value added.

9.Build 5-10 year Strategic Plans, forecast rolling 12 month budgets, link them to the most relevant KPIs and tie remuneration to these wherever possible. Everybody knows they should do this. Few do. The difference in the performance of companies that do is enormous.

10.Watch your cashflow – building a cashflow forecast is a relatively easy exercise with the right software and some quality assistance. Some people survive years of losses but you can only run out of cash once. In a cash hungry business like wine–Cashflow is not just King but Oxygen

This article is contributed by Peter McCartney, Wine Business Solutions

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What are the Federal requirements for “Custom Crush” clients and winemakers?

What is a “Custom Crush” arrangement and what are the Federal requirements for “Custom Crush” clients and winemakers?

In a typical custom crush arrangement, a grape grower or any person with winemaking materials (the “client”) enters into a contract with a bonded winery proprietor to have the grapes processed into wine. The client retains title to the grapes, and the wine is made to the client’s specifications. The finished wine is returned to the client for sale to other dealers, or the winery sometimes sells the wine on behalf of the client.

The custom crush client may be required to obtain a Federal Wholesaler’s Basic Permit from TTB. This permit allows the client to engage in the business of purchasing wine for resale at wholesale, in accordance with the Federal Alcohol Administration Act at 27 U.S.C. 203(c)(1) and 27 CFR 1.22. Although the client is specifically paying for the producer’s services, the client has purchased wine (within the broad meaning of the term) at the price set in the agreement. If the client engages in activities normally associated with wholesaling, such as setting the price for the wine, determining which dealers will be sold the wine, and controlling and paying for advertising of the product, the client must have a wholesaler’s basic permit. If, however, the client merely receives the proceeds from the sale by the winery of the resulting wine, a permit would not be required.

The custom crush client who engages in the business of selling wine is liable for Registration as a Liquor Dealer.  The holder of a federal permit is automatically registered to sell at the address shown on the permit.  If selling at retail at a location where you do not hold a valid producer, blender, wholesaler or importer permit, the retailer must register that location by filing TTB F 5630.5(d) There is no cost for registration.

Bonded winery proprietors must ensure that the receipt of winemaking materials and the ensuing activities associated with the production of custom crush wine is properly recorded. TTB reminds the industry that wine produced for custom crush clients carries the same regulatory requirements for recordkeeping, reporting, labeling and taxation as wine made for the winery itself.

Manufacturing partner

The bottling winery is responsible for obtaining an appropriate Certificate of Label Approval, and the wine premises which removes the wine from bond is responsible for payment of Federal excise tax at the rate appropriate for the producing winery. For the purposes of determining eligibility for the Small Domestic Producer’s Credit, all wine produced for clients must be included in the production and removal calculations (see 27 CFR 24.278-9).


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What are the rules for transfer of unlabelled bottled wine?


When unlabeled bottled wine is transferred among two or more bonded wine premises for aging or labeling, the bottler must provide a copy of the approved Application For And Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA) TTB Form 5100.31 under which the wine was bottled. The transfer in bond record which accompanies the wine must be accurate and specific, and the label information record for the wine must fully support any claims made on the label to be affixed to the wine.

The responsibility for transferring accurate label information is not that of the producer alone; it is the responsibility of all holders of the wine from the time it is produced until it is removed from bond for consumption or sale.

Here are guidelines for the various parties that may be involved when unlabeled bottled wine is transferred among bonded premises:

What are the responsibilities of the Producer?

The producer of the wine must ensure that the transfer in bond record required by 27 CFR 24.309 contains accurate and specific label information for all bulk wine shipped in bond (or tax paid) to another premises for bottling. This allows the bottler to apply for a COLA and ensures that the product label is correct.

What are the responsibilities of the Bottler?

The bottler obtains a COLA which can be substantiated by the transfer record which accompanied the wine from the producer. Unless the wine will be bottled at a tax paid wine bottling house, the bottler will make sure that the wine to be bottled is received and maintained on bonded (not tax paid) premises. The bottler maintains records in accordance with 27 CFR 24.308.

If the bottler transfers unlabeled bottled wine to another bonded premises for labeling, the bottler must send the wine in bond (untaxpaid) with the COLA under which the wine was bottled. If a different product label will be affixed, the bottler must obtain a correct COLA, and forward it to the premises where the label will be affixed. The transfer in bond record that accompanies the bottled wine must contain accurate and specific information which substantiates the product label, as specified by 27 CFR 24.309. However, if unlabeled bottled wine is transferred to another bonded premises for aging only, and will be subsequently returned to the bottler for the affixing of the product label, the COLA does not have to accompany the shipments.

To reiterate, an approved label which accompanies the wine must carry the minimum label requirements, but it might not be the label eventually affixed to the product. The label used to bottle the wine is sometimes referred to as the “generic” label. The bottler may apply for another COLA for a product label with specific label claims, as long as the claims are substantiated by the label information record requirements of 27 CFR 24.314.

What does the Labeller receive from the Bottler?

The person who will affix the product label receives the unlabeled, untaxpaid bottled wine, the COLA for the product label to be affixed, and the transfer in bond record (27 CFR 24.309) which contains accurate and specific information which substantiates the label claims.

Only the bottler of the wine may apply for a COLA. If the owner of unlabeled bottled wine wants to label the wine with a label other than that which accompanied the wine, the bottler must be contacted, and the bottler must work with the owner to obtain an approved product label which is fully substantiated by the label information record for that wine.

What if the bottler is unable to provide a COLA?

If the bottler of the wine is unable to obtain label approval for the wine to be labelled, the wine may only be labeled if it is dumped to bulk and re-bottled. It may be re-bottled when an appropriate COLA is obtained by the bottler. The label may not contain any information which is not fully supported by the label information record for the wine.

Red wine in glass bottling machine at winery

What is the responsibility of the person who removes the wine from bond?

If the labelled wine is transferred in bond to another bonded wine premises for taxable removal, it must be accompanied by the transfer in bond record (27 CFR 24.309) which contains accurate and specific information which substantiates the label claims.

The person who pays the tax on the wine is the qualified proprietor of a bonded winery or bonded wine cellar, and not a wholesaler, wine broker, agent, negotiate, retailer, consumer or, necessarily, the actual owner of the wine. Bottled wine may not be removed from bond (i.e., tax paid) without a COLA and an approved product label being affixed. This requirement is given in the wine regulations at 27 CFR 24.257(a) which states in part: “The proprietor must label each bottle or other container of beverage wine prior to removal for consumption or sale.”

How long the records must be kept?

All records must be retained for a period of not less than three years from the record date or the date of last entry required to be made in the record, whichever is later.

However, TTB may require records to be kept for a period of not more than three additional years, if deemed necessary.


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Bulk Wine, Bulk Spirits and Private Label Show Comes To Europe in 2018

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) which is an annual show in San Francisco that caters to the US bulk wine, bulk spirits and private label buyers now also comes to London. IBWSS London will be an annual event exhibiting global bulk wine, bulk spirits and private label service providers. The IBWSS London will give European supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and other buyers an opportunity to source bulk wine and spirits in one place, and meet private label suppliers.

Event Date: Jan 24-25, 2018

Location: The Royal Horticultural Halls Lindley Hall, London

Bulk Wine - IBWSShow London - 2018

“The bulk segment holds the largest market share in the wine and spirits industry,” said Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network.  “Bulk trading is an age-old trade between producers, but we are now seeing the business take on a very impressive position across the industry. The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show aims to give the bulk trade a truly dynamic trading platform where buyers can confidently conduct business with the world’s most reputable suppliers.”

As the central exchange for European trade, London is positioned perfectly for the fair. The city has long acted as the European trading post between the northern and southern hemispheres.  With the launch of IBWSS, international bulk suppliers from some of the world’s most important markets will have unprecedented access to the European market.

Registration for The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show will open to all international suppliers on March 1, 2017. IBWSS London is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network.

For more information, press releases and launch discount for exhibitors, please fill out interest form here:

About Beverage Trade Network

Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of b2b trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit

About The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference, open to trade professionals only, that takes place takes place in London, UK and San Francisco, CA. IBWSS exhibitors are wineries and distilleries looking to sell bulk wine and spirits, producers and negociants who offer contract manufacturing / private label programs and wineries / distilleries / importers who have one time excess stock to clear. IBWSS buyers are other wineries and distilleries looking to meet up their demand, Importers, Retailers and Distributors looking for private label programs, negociants who are looking to meet the growers and producers.

2018 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show – Exhibitor Registration (London) Now Open Register Today!

The Taj Group launches its own private wine label

In response to a notable increase in the number of wine drinkers in India, the Taj Group has identified the need for an exclusive range of good quality wines and has launched a brand new wine label, Taj Private Label Wines.

Consisting of two whites and four reds, this carefully curated selection has been crafted and bottled exclusively for Taj luxury hotels in India and makes for the perfect addition to its already extensive wine selection.

Taj Private Label Wines have been meticulously chosen according to the preference of the Taj clientele and are synonymous with its grandeur. Handpicked by the country’s most distinguished wine connoisseurs, the Taj Private Label Wines include:

Red wines

  • Penfolds Koonunga Hills Seventy Six Taj Cellar Selection Cabernet Shiraz 2010, a distinguished wine from the mighty Grange which put Australia on the world wine map. With a dense purple colour and charming aromas of wild berries, this spectacular wine is balanced, yet endowed with a plush and expansive palate profile.
  • Les Pagodes De Cos Au the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai 2008 is Taj’s tribute to the long history between the Chateau and India. This indulgent wine comes from the house of Cos D’Estournel in France and offers beautiful freshness along with sweet, pure notes of creme de cassis, earth, and forest floor.
  • Palais Castellani Toscana IGT 2009, a deep ruby red selection comes from the eco-friendly and socially responsible wineries of Tuscany. Laying on a texture of balsamic notes eucalyptus and mint, this characteristic Tuscan wine is perfect for an evening with the family.
  • Svara, showcases the rich heritage of India and its land. With a faint touch of purple this specially created wine by the Taj in association with Fratelli wines includes aromas of crisp and aromatic fruits with well integrated tannins and an elegant finish. In an endeavor to create an additional interactive experience for the guests, Svara has for the first time, partnered with Blippar. The wine labels have been made Blippable to recreate the spirit of the vibrant country in a glass, bringing a wine that represents the land and heritage of India. Blippar has ensured to make the consumer experience a memorable one by bringing, music (street and contemporary) and flavours that go best with wine, to life through an interactive twist to the label on the bottle itself.

White wines

  • Saint Clair Pioneer Block 2 Taj Cellar Selection Sauvignon 2013, a pale straw expression of boldness with a distinctive aroma of green capsicum and ripe gooseberries. Created by the biggest family-owned estate of New Zealand, this particular selection was an unparalleled choice for a Taj Cellar Selection.
  •  Palais Corte Giara Pinot Grigio IGT Delle Venezie 2013 an undisputed choice from Veneto in Italy. This straw yellow wine is light and delicate and is characterised by a subtle elegant floral nuance followed by hints of golden delicious apples and distinctive vegetal notes.

Commenting on the launch of the new wine label, Gaurav Pokhariyal, General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai says: “This new world range of wines, creates a stunning palate of delicate flavours with mesmerizing undertones of rich enigmatic aromas. From flirty whites to dazzling ruby reds each wine has been carefully hand-picked, procured and bottled exclusively to be a part of the Taj Private Label Wines”.

This specially created collection has been bottled exclusively for Taj Luxury hotels in India.

Source :

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Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company Buys Stake in Napa Valley Distillery

Napa Valley Distillery and Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company combine forces through strategic financial agreement.

Napa, California (PRWEB) January 16, 2017

Napa Valley Distillery, the first distillery in the city of Napa since Prohibition, and the only distillery in Napa Valley, has entered into a financial agreement with Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company, a second generation supplier of Premium Bulk Wine and WineGrapes.

As part of the agreement, Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company has made an investment into the fast growing craft-spirits maker and now owns a minority equity stake. The exact terms of the deal are undisclosed.

Arthur Hartunian, founder and proprietor of Napa Valley Distillery says, “This deal makes all the sense in the world. Agajanian is a premiere supplier of the premium raw material we need to make many of our products. They also bring a mountain of resources, experiences and connections throughout California’s beverage alcohol industry. Their investment will help us realize some of our immediate goals.”

 Gary Agajanian, founder and President of Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company, believes their investment in Napa Valley Distillery comes at the perfect time. “This opportunity allows us an expedited entry into the fast growing craft-spirits market not simply as a supplier more importantly as equity partner. It’s a win-win for the both of us. Arthur and his team have done a fantastic job with Napa Valley Distillery and all of its unique brands. They’ve pioneered and are dominating California’s direct to consumer spirits space and we’re thrilled to be able to help and be part of their continued growth and success.”

The craft spirits industry has grown to over 1,300 distillers in the United States, generating approximately $2.4 billion in retail sales in 2015 and posting a compound annual growth rate of 27.4% in volume. That sharp growth is far better than the broader industry as alcohol beverage consumers have been favoring smaller, and often local, options, a trend that first took hold in the beer world and is now extending to spirits.

Napa Valley Distillery was founded by husband and wife team Arthur and Lusine Hartunian in 2009 when the couple decided to pursue their passion for making unique spirits and craft cocktails.

Agajanian Vineyards and Wine Company is an ever growing merchant/negociant and vintner in the wine industry. Based in Madera, CA with their principal office in Napa, CA, Agajanian supplies hundreds of wineries and wine brands with the best WineGrapes, Premium Bulk Wines and Private Labels from all regions of California and the Northwest.

Meet and Explore Agajanian Vineyards at IBWS Show 2017. The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference which will give wineries, importers, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, distilleries and other buyers a premiere international platform to source bulk wine and spirits and meet private label suppliers. Book now and save on exhibitor rates 

Only 20 Spots are left to become an Exhibitor at the 2017 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show. Register Now and Join the show as an Exhibitor.

Source PRWeb :

Agajanian Vineyards

Meet MGP : A leading Supplier of Premium Distilled Spirits at IBWSS


MGP is recognized across the country and abroad as a leading supplier of premium distilled spirits, as well as one of America’s top multi-line producers in the spirits industry. The company is also the largest U.S. supplier of rye whiskey, as well as distilled gin.

A core competency of MGP is the company’s expertise in helping customers create custom formulations. The company offers new distillate and aged spirits in railcar, tanker truck and tote quantities. Their extensive portfolio has continued to expand for today’s discerning tastes and currently includes:

  • Bourbons
  • Whiskeys
  • Gins
  • Grain Neutral Spirits
  • Non-GMO Grain Neutral Spirits

Based in Atchison, Kansas, where the company was founded in 1941, MGP also owns distillery operations in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The company continues to consistently provide customers with premium products while maintaining state-of-the-art facilities and capabilities. Adding to this is MGP’s finely balanced mix of art and science, which is the cornerstone of their long history of success in helping customers meet evolving consumer tastes.

Among some of the more recent developments at MGP was the creation of four new distilled gins, each featuring a distinctive flavor profile. These include distilled orange, lemon-lime, citrus berry and cucumber gins.


MGP also embarked on a major warehouse expansion at their Lawrenceburg distillery, essentially doubling the facility’s whiskey maturation capacity.

MGP offers customers the ability to work onsite in a newly constructed distilled spirits innovation center. Located at the Lawrenceburg site, the center enables greater opportunities for customers to work closely with MGP in developing custom formulations unique to their individual brands. It also includes enhanced quality assurance and sensory labs, along with new conference and meeting space.


In recognition of the company’s growing prominence in the spirits industry, MGP was honored as 2015 Distiller of the Year by the prestigious trade publication, Whisky Advocate.


Meet and Explore MGP’s services at IBWS Show. The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference which will give wineries, importers, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, distilleries and other buyers a premiere international platform to source bulk wine and spirits and meet private label suppliers. Book now and save on exhibitor rates 

Only 20 Spots are left to become an Exhibitor at the 2017 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show. Register Now and Join the show as an Exhibitor.

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Why bulk wine is now so important to the US and global wine market?

Sid Patel, chief executive and founder of Beverage Trade Network and the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show, gives his take on the US bulk wine market in an article that first appeared in Meininger Wine Business International.

Tim Hanni MW, a wine educator and consultant, says the challenge for international producers who want to enter the US market is “learning the intricacies of how bulk wine business is transacted”. Hanni MW, who has helped to  establish the USA’s first bulk wine trade fair, adds that it’s critical to establish “a network of connections to the brokers, buyers and sellers.”

The process starts with understanding how the US bulk wine market operates.

What is bulk wine?

Bulk wine is defined as wine that is shipped in containers (ISO tanks, Flexitanks etc), rather than in bottles or smaller packaging. Some organizations describe any wine that’s shipped in containers larger than two litres as bulk wine but, strictly speaking, bulk wine is wine that’s shipped in large containers and then repackaged at its destination.

Buyers can include wineries, importers, exporters or bottling facilities. Retail stores can also be significant bulk buyers, particularly if they’re selling ‘private label’ wines – the home brand wines created and sold by many liquor retail chains, supermarkets and grocery chain stores. The main advantage that private label wine offers retail chains is that it gives them control over the product, and eliminates the price competition from other retailers.

After all, if they’re the only ones selling that brand of wine, then they don’t face pressure to discount it. Bulk wine is typically traded in the US in one of three ways.

Tier One

The first and most important tier of the US bulk wine trade belongs to wine negociants or brokers. Turrentine Brokerage, Mancuso Wine Brokerage and The Ciatti Company, all based in California, are leading names in this space.

Such brokers offer services ranging from grape and bulk wine brokerage to global bulk wine trading, evaluations and strategic branding. It’s not surprising that San Francisco is the hub of the bulk wine business, both domestically and internationally, given that it’s both within reach of more than 4,000 Californian wineries, as well as being a significant entry point to the US.

Brokerage firms may also offer ‘services as contract manufacturers or private label makers, a part of the business known as ‘custom crush’. This involves a buyer stating the profile of the wine required, which is then made to order by a winery. The buyer usually provides cartons and labels and the winery produces the finished goods.

The brokerage firms offer a great starting point for international bulk producers seeking to enter the US market, given their experience, knowledge and connections.

Tier Two

Wine industry classifieds make up the second strata of the bulk wine business. These classifieds may appear in newspapers, industry publications or online, through websites like and Wine Country Classifieds (also distributed in print).

The classifieds will list available bulk grapes, or the specifications of ready-made wines, and potential buyers then contact the supplier directly. Many wineries list bulk grapes and wines for sales on their regional association’s website. There are also web portals like VINEX and VinsenVRAC where buyers can negotiate on grape and bulk wine listings.

International producers may certainly list their products through these avenues, as long as they are able to take care of the legalities, logistics and price negotiations themselves.

Tier Three

The third section of the bulk wine trade market is known as the ‘whisper market’, where trade is conducted via personal relationships only. Products are not listed anywhere and nor is transactional data publicly available; nevertheless, this market accounts for a sizeable share of the bulk wine trade.

Insider information is circulated about how many gallons of wine are available for sale at which price, and buyers privy to this knowledge can arrange to taste the product and proceed with the purchase. Wineries can also let brokers know what wines they have for sale, and trust that the brokers will sell the product discreetly, without revealing where it came from.

Similarly, wineries or buyers looking to buy bulk wine can make their exact requirements known to a brokerage firm or negociant, who will then put the buyer in touch with a relevant winery.

This would be a trickier channel to explore for international bulk wine producers, at least until they have spent more time in the market and made deep connections within the network of bulk grape and wine buyers and sellers.

Why bulk wine?

Bulk wine is traded for many reasons, from the need to create a blend using a varietal that’s not available locally, to a need for more wine because of a poor vintage, all the way to private label. On the other side, producers sometimes have excess grapes or wine that they can’t use themselves, and the bulk wine market offers them a way to sell that excess. Wineries – unfortunately – also occasionally find themselves stuck with excess wine because a buyer has failed to make a payment or pick up the stock.

But although there are good reasons why the bulk market exists, there’s also a good reason why the whisper market exists. It’s commonly believed –wrongly – that excess wine is always poor quality. As a result, engaging openly in the bulk wine market has the potential to tarnish the reputation of a winery otherwise known for its award-winning wines.

This scenario presents an opportunity for buyers to procure bulk wines of excellent quality and use them judiciously to build new brands, or flesh out an existing wine portfolio – provided all players can navigate this complex market.

Bulk wine show

That’s why the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show was created in the US – to put buyers and sellers together.

“The IBWSS gives an advantage to international bulk wine buyers and sellers: access to the key players in the bulk wine business for both long- and short-term opportunities with the bonus of educational and informational seminars on important issues and how to expand their business in the US in a single location,” says Tim Hanni MW.

“Attendees and exhibitors can save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars by having everything, and everyone, in one convenient place.”

The US, whose consumption is estimated at 31m hL, has now broadly established itself as the largest domestic market in the world.

At present, it buys international bulk wines mainly from Argentina, Chile and Canada. But given the growing strength of the US dollar and the emergence of powerful US retailers looking to build private label brands, there is a great opportunity for other countries to make a splash in the market.

France, the largest bulk wine exporter in terms of value (29% of the world’s value) and Spain, the largest bulk wine exporter in terms of volume (23% of the world’s volume), are wine producing countries with a lot to offer this market, for example.

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference which will give wineries, importers, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, distilleries and other buyers a premiere international platform to source bulk wine and spirits and meet private label suppliers. Book now and save on exhibitor rates

Only 20 Spots are left to become an Exhibitor at the 2017 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show. Register Now and Join the show as an Exhibitor.

ibwsshow offer January