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Highlights From Day 1 of the 2019 IBWSS San Francisco

Photo for: Highlights From Day 1 of the 2019 IBWSS San Francisco

International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show showcases the very best in the world of bulk and private label.


The International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show kicked off in San Francisco on July 23 with a series of keynotes, presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the biggest names in the wine and spirits industry.

2019 IBWSS SF Registrations Desk on 23 Jul

Registration desk on 23 July 2019

Lively discussions took place on the issues that are top of mind for participants in the bulk and private label trade, while an active trade show floor at the South San Francisco Conference Center featured exhibitors from every major wine region in the world.

The keynote session of Day 1 featured Jennifer Leitman, Executive Vice President of Marketing for The Family Coppola. As one of the biggest names in the California wine trade, The Family Coppola has been at the forefront of finding new ways to appeal to the modern wine drinker. In her presentation titled, “How Emotion Drives Purchase,” Leitman explained how wine drinkers – especially younger millennial wine drinkers – are often influenced by emotion at the point of purchase. As a result, it’s up to wine brands to find new ways to create emotional connections with their customers. In some cases, it might mean physical experiences, while in others it might mean linking up with certain social or charitable causes to showcase the values or mission of a brand.

The keynote session of day 1 by Jennifer Leitman

The keynote session of day 1 by Jennifer Leitman


Following Leitman on stage at IBWSS San Francisco was Kurt Lorenzi, VP of Global Sourcing at the Winery Exchange. For participants new to the private label trend, Lorenzi answered the question on the minds of many in the audience: “Do you have what it takes to be a private label supplier?” As Lorenzi explained, one key facet in becoming a private label supplier is being able to stay ahead of key trends in the marketplace. Consumer tastes and preferences can shift overnight, and it’s important to be able to anticipate where the market might be headed in terms of supply and demand.

Session of Kurt Lorenzi

Session of Kurt Lorenzi

Brett Pontoni, Spirits Buyer and Vice President at Binny’s Beverage Report, provided another perspective on what it takes to be a private label supplier. Pontoni explained the major factors that matter to retail buyers, including the ability to deliver a high-quality product at a price that properly reflects market conditions.


To help answer questions about market dynamics in the bulk wine trade, the IBWSS San Francisco morning session featured Steve Dorfman, Partner with Ciatti Co., who explained the types of factors that can shift supply and demand. For nearly two years, the major story in the wine market was the reduced supply coming out of key European wine markets. Now that European producers are once again active, it could lead to another paradigm shift in how bulk wine participants do business.

After the morning session concluded at 11:00, participants headed out to the main trade show floor, where deals were being worked out and new relationships formed. As in previous years, IBWSS San Francisco attracted an all-star list of exhibitors from around the world, all of them covering a different aspect of the bulk and private label trade. Exhibitors literally from A (Agajanian Vineyards) to Z (Zidela Wines) were actively attracting attention from participants looking for high-quality bulk suppliers from the world’s top wine regions.


Visitors on 2019 IBWSS Expo Floor

Visitors on 2019 IBWSS Expo Floor

Reinforcing its role as the premier place to meet top bulk wine, bulk spirits and private label suppliers, the IBWSS San Francisco event kicked off the afternoon session of Day 1 with a spirited “Buyer’s Panel” discussion moderated by Bill Abrahamson, Senior Wine Buyer, Liquors Plus of Minnesota. Joining Abrahamson on stage were Darrin Baumunk, Corporate Beverage Buyer at Lasco Enterprises and Maurice Dimarino, Wine and Beverage Manager, Cohn Restaurant Group. The three discussed the key considerations that buyers in the on- and off-premise trade must take into account when making purchase decisions. It was a unique look at how the demand side of the market works and provided a nice counterbalance to the morning’s look at the supply side of the market.


One important trend discussed at IBWSS San Francisco was the growing globalization of the bulk wine trade and the importance of taking into account environmental factors when shipping worldwide. Thanks to advances in shipping, storage and bottling technology, it’s now just as efficient for a buyer in California to ship bulk wine from Australia as it is from Chile. But, as Luke Arie, Regional Sales Manager of the California Bulk Division at JF Hillebrand, pointed out, participants still need to consider a host of factors related to managing bulk wine shipments. In his presentation titled “Shipping Wine Responsibly,” Arie detailed how producers could calculate and reduce their carbon footprint, as well as how they can take simple, practical steps like recycling Flexitanks after a shipment.

Happy and attentive conference attendees

Happy and attentive conference attendees

Wrapping up Day 1 of the IBWSS San Francisco, Dave Carpenter, Master Blender at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, talked about the changing perceptions of bulk spirits in the U.S. marketplace. At one time, there might have been a stigma associated with “sourced” spirits, but not any longer. Sharing experiences from the bourbon industry, Carpenter explained how the world of spirits has been completely transformed. It’s now possible to create world-class spirit blends, and customers are now much more appreciative of the craft that goes into creating these blends.

Afterward, participants returned to the exhibition floor, where it was possible to meet some of the exhibitors who are at the forefront of many of the trends discussed throughout the day. There was also palpable excitement over some of the speakers scheduled for Day 2 of the IBWSS San Francisco. Day 1 provided a great overview of what to expect when getting started with bulk wine and spirits, and Day 2 promised to dive even deeper into the world of private labels, and how to create successful consumer brands that resonate with the modern wine drinker.

The dates for next year’s event will be July 28-29, 2020. 
So if you are keen to join the event as an exhibitor and would like to save some money and use that towards your airline and hotels when you come to SF next year – we encourage you to reserve your spot by end of next month which is August 31 and you will be able to get the best deal which will save you $800. 



2024 Exhibitor registration is now open. Get in early at the lowest price and select your table first. See exhibitor pricing.


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