What myriad changes we have seen in the Pacific Northwest wine industry over the past decade. We have seen vigorous growth, a much broader reception of Pacific Northwest wines in the national market, a swell of outside interest looking to capitalize on what they see as vast growth to come.
At Incredible Bulk Wine Company, we have been fostering and building relationships with our sellers to understand their winemaking style, sales results versus their production loads, and assisting them to meet their business demand horizons. Every buyer, too, has their own style. Sending limitless samples and forcing our buyers to weed out volumes of unwanted wines, hoping something sticks, was never our intent. We understand there is a synergy between some of our buyers and sellers that we work to protect and ensure. We value the time, energy, and effort of all of our working partners, and look to add more value this year.
With a vast expanding network in the Californian and International bulk wine markets, we can deliver a multitude of new and diverse opportunities. We are selling wines in much larger volumes than ever before to aid in the bumper crops of 2016 in Washington and 2017 in Oregon. The salubrity of all of our clients are at the core of our belief system.
Washington State may be the greatest enigma in the American wine industry.
What Washington does better than anyone is make every varietal at a level that is world class. Nowhere else in the world would a winery grow Cabernet and Riesling in adjoining rows, and make top notch wine from each varietal. The list of high performing is as long as your arm, and across borders of standard expectations.
Bordelais red and white varietals
In this list of things done impressively well lies the aforementioned enigma. Upon what does Washington hang its hat? Quality:Price Ratio to be sure, in every varietal and price point, but is that sufficiently capturing the attention of the domestic wine buyer.
In Bordeaux, the European wine growing region with whom Washington most closely aligns itself, the Estates define themselves by the confines of what is planted on their property. The Estate never mentions varietals, only the assumed expectation that they have planted what grows best on their properties, and are offering you the first and second wines that have long resulted from these efforts.
In the bulk wine market, Washington seems best represented behind red blends. It is not a category where California exceeds, as in Cabernet and Chardonnay, and offers a Northwestern alternative to the clearly defined Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
In a landscape of increasing opportunities on the national and global scale, it appears to be in Washington's best interest to define itself to the evolving Milennial demographic that is open to new adventures, so far as they understand the brand and type that is sizzlingly on the upswing.
Ella Fitzgerald, arguably the greatest American chanteuse, asked this question 75 years ago.
Now, the global wine industry is beginning to ask this question about the Pacific Northwest.
If you follow the wine industry, it is clear to all that of the Mergers and Acquisitions taking place in the United States wine industry, more than half took place in Washington or Oregon last year. Buyers from France, Spain, Italy, Canda, and the Napa cognoscenti are swarming this region. New references pop up monthly for the newest acquisitions set to take place.
The increasing levels of investment in this region prove how undervalued, underplanted, and underdeveloped these regions are. Buyers are encouraged by the idea that the ceiling for this market may be unreachable in the current generation's professional career duration. Some say the greatest plantings of this region aren't yet in the ground, or may be going in the ground now.
In terms of bulk wine feasibility, there couldn't have been better, or larger opportunities than what now exists in red wines from Washington from 2016 and Oregon in 2017. With a shrinking demand from the region's largest producer, the tidal wave of opportunity is at a trough with an impending crest that is unknown in shape or dimension, but what is known is that it will be tremendous.
There was a time when writers, critics, and business people alike, when discussing the wine industry, only discussed California. Why wouldn't they? 4 Million tons of grapes for an average annual harvest dwarfs the rest of the country's production combined.
As time has gone by, entrepreneurs and opportunists have sought growth behind new ideas. With a fully built out industry in California, these bright minds were forced to look northward. The land rush in Oregon and Washington is mirrored in the supernova of new brands being established in once provincial hamlets like McMinnville, Walla Walla, on the sunny slopes Red Mountain, and in the red clay of the Dundee Hills.
The quality-price ratio has become impossible to ignore. The growth in the marketplace of Washington Cabernet and Oregon Pinot, coupled with scores and press that over deliver at each price category, make the Pacific Northwest the worst kept secret in the wine industry these days.
Contact us to help us direct you to the myriad opportunities that this dynamic market sector has to offer.
The 2016 vintage in Washington was the largest by record. "King Kong" sized clusters surprised winemakers and vineyard managers alike, arriving at twice their suspected cluster weights. Quality and volume corresponded to endow a vintage with as much volume with commensurate quality.
2017, in contrast, has picked out between 10-15% lighter than in years past. The wines are showing more delicacy and feminity in the early stages, Qualitatively speaking, this may be the best Merlot and Syrah crop since the stellar 2012 vintage.
For producers looking to invest in Washington wine, the 2016 vintage provides ample opportunity. It may be a good bet to invest in greater inventory from 2016 to supplant the shortfalls and higher pricing sure to come out of the 2017 vintage.
Merlot got a bad rap in a wine movie. If only Paul Giamatti's Sideways character would have told his audience that the '61 Cheval Blanc that he was saving for a rainy day was full of the goodness that is Merlot.
Outside of Pomerol, perhaps the world's greatest region for Merlot is Washington State. This varietal ripens beautifully, and in cooler Septembers, like that of 2016, can hang long enough for the fruit to darken and phenolics to mature. Primary-fruited Merlots of the West Coast, introduced before the emergence of Washington State as a global wine producer, left the American wine market feeling that Merlot was a pedestrian, entry level red wine, that would always play second fiddle to Cabernet, and maybe from off stage.
Wines from Pomerol like Petrus and Cheval Blanc demand some of the highest prices and greatest prestige in the world of wine. What France has done better than any wine market, is market regions over varietals. Bordeaux markets the house over variety, winemaker, above all else. Burgundy markets from a row of a vineyard. Champagne is Eponymous. The place identifies the style, which is easily explained to consumers.
Washington Merlot, blended with Syrah, or Cabernet Franc, or Malbec, or the sum of all these parts, sell into Washington red blend projects that are some of the hottest selling SKUs in the US Market. Perhaps the pendulum will swing back to an affinity to Merlot, and (dare to dream...) Rielsling, but as The Feller says, "If you can't beat em, join em", and pitch a Merlot driven red blend to your distributors, marketing, or sales people, and start your own Proprietary Washington red blend.
Incredible Bulk Wine Company will be making our second annual trip to the Texas Wine Grape Growers Association show in San Marcos, TX February 17 and 18.
The Texas wine industry is working to become more self sufficient in terms of producing wines solely grown in their state. Yet there remain several clients of ours in this industry, and that number continues to grow.
There is interest in the food friendly wines produced in the Pacific Northwest for these wineries that excel in direct sales, and can quickly outsell their inventory.
We hope to see a number of ya'll down there!
This is not a new story. As we are all aware, the interest in Washington and Oregon wine from California wine companies has been growing at an accelerated rate. Kendall Jackson's recent purchases of eponymous Oregon brands, Willakenzie and Penner-Ash, are just one of the latest indicators of large California entities making sizeable commitments in the Pacific Northwest wine industry.
This is something we see in the number of sample requests that we are getting from California wineries for Washington Cab, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Oregon, specifically Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, are in higher and higher demand as months pass by.
It is an exciting time to witness what appears to be another seismic growth in the Pacific Northwest wine industry. Please contact us for samples and our hottest opportunities.
The 2016 vintage in Washington was a convening of many auspicious events.
In late spring, early summer, the weather provided ideal conditions for fruit set. Clusters set at greater weight and density than in any vintage in recent memory.
A warm, but not exceedingly hot summer, allowed clusters to form and supporting canopies to shade and protect fruit during heat spikes.
As they say in Champagne, September makes the wine, and this could be well said of the harvest in Washington. Temperatures cooled into the 70s, right on schedule at Labor Day, and winemakers were allowed to make qualitative picking decisions, instead of rushing into decisions forced by accelerated ripening.
Please contact us to help you navigate through this buyers' market.
Chardonnay is the most popular white grape varietal in the United States, and may be one of the most stylistically diverse in the domestic marketplace.
The Pacific Northwest offers a variety of meso-climates, soil types, elevations, slope and aspect within its Chardonnay plantings. The Ancient Lake AVA offers mineral driven, austere Chardonnays, Yakima Valley offers tropical fruit and showier palate weight, the Horse Heaven Hills offers grassier, fresher stylistic options.
Willamette Valley is quickly becoming the vogue Chardonnay region to wine drinkers and critics alike.
Winemaking techniques also offer more choices yet. To ferment malolactic or not? Oaked or unoaked? Stainless or barrel aged, or a blend of the two?
Please contact us for a road map to the different varieties of Chardonnay, and what best suits your style and portfolio.
2015 was a below average vintage, per acre, in the Columbia Valley and its sub appellations. The vintage was quite warm, with little to no disease pressure at ripening, and the resulting quality was excellent.
With the light vintage in mind, large wineries bought up a high volume of 2015 bulk inventories in Washington, leaving a short supply of remaining 2015 bulk inventories.
Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah from 2015 remains available for 2017 bottling schedules, but the general over supply, which leads into the summer should not be available in the coming calendar year.
Incredible Bulk Wine Company participated in the World Bulk Wine Expo in Amsterdam on November 21-22. We want to share what we learned with our clients and colleagues.
There is a great deal of interest in Washington and Oregon wines from Scandinavian countries, as well as the UK. We received feedback from importers in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway that the aesthetics in wines from the Pacific Northwest are in great demand among their clienteles.
There is interest in hard to sell varieties such as Sangiovese and Rhone varieties that don't find as much reception in the US Bulk wine market.
There is also interest in the Netherlands and UK in oaked Chardonnay.
We will continue to post the feedback that we receive from exporters and wine buyers from this show, as it is valuable intelligence for all of us interested in selling Pacific Northwest wines.
Sauvignon Blanc was the variety most in demand from the Pacific Northwest in 2015, with little inventory to speak of. This Bordelais white variety is one of the three hottest selling varieties in the North American wine marketplace (balance represented by Chardonnay and Pinot Gris).
Styles and aromatics offer a broad pastisse from which to choose. This varietal will range from sublime tropical floral aromas and bold fruit at one end, to austerity, minerality, and grassiness on the other. Washingtons meso and micro-climates offer buyers from around the US and the World myriad options.
We have inventories in excess of 50,000 gallons total from 2016. With such a warm, quality vintage with low disease pressures, handled by talented winemakers, these inventories look to be some of the first to expire.
The 2016 vintage in the Pacific Northwest was an elegant combination of many vintages wrapped into one.
Bud break started early with a record warm spring, but summer time cool downs, and the best hang time weather in 10 years in September (75 degree days, 50 degree nights) led to wines preserving more of their natural acidity than in year's past, and flavors were allowed to phenolically mature without escalating brix forcing picking decisions.
Crop loads in Oregon were lighter, significantly over their preceding 3 vintages, but quality was excellent. A warm, but not hot vintage, that allowed for elegant maturing, but also permitted picking being completed before the rains set in. Inventories will be limited, elevating pricing, but quality should over deliver in comparison to North Coast and Central Coast Quality/Price Comparisons
If ever there were a time to buy into the Washington bulk wine market, it would be this vintage. Crop loads came in heavy across the board. The additional opportunity remains in corporate operations not bringing in overages, as in year's past, and many growers were left holding excess. This may open the door for production contracts and fruit contracts that were not available previously for 2017.
As wines finish ML and become market ready, we will be releasing info on different varietal opportunities from 2016. Rest assured, they are all opportunities in this buyers' market worth considering.
The dynamics in the North American wine industry continue to trend towards the Pacific Northwest.
Continued purchases of wineries, vineyards, and land continues to trend upwards on a steep curve in both Washington and Oregon.
Planting is also increasing at a steady clip, among future growth plans for expanding brands more likely than ever in the Pacific Northwest.
As water shortages continue in California, buyers continue to shift their views northwards, getting incredible Quality/Price ratio values, with wines over delivering in every category.
We are on the verge of unprecedented growth in the Pacific Northwest Wine Industry, and thrilled to be a part of it.
Incredible Bulk Wine Company will be hosting a bulk wine tasting in Paso Robles for Central Coast winemakers from 10:30-noon on April 7, 2016.
The tasting will be help at Tooth and Nail Winery. toothandnailwinery.com
We will be pouring representative lots from our portfolio, including Washington red Bordeaux varieties, aromatic whites, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from both Washington and Oregon.
Please contact us for more details.
We at the Incredible Bulk Wine Company are excited to announce a new and exciting addition to our inventory.
Custom Dosage Sparkling Shiners
We have 1200 cases of this wine available in two different lots. Clients can add or reduce sweetness to their specs, and have a sparkling wine to add to their tasting bar in time for spring release.
Please contact us for samples and further details
At the Incredible Bulk Wine Company, we are committed to the principal of doing business in person with our clients.
We have made trips to visit buyers in Michigan, California, Washington, Oregon, and now Texas.
We will be attending all 3 days of the TWGGA 40th Annual conference in Frisco, TX this week.
We look forward to meeting with our existing and future clients to this week, and to learn more and grow in understanding about the various growth opportunities, challenges, and concerns that they have.
Don't look now, but the greatest opportunity in the history of Pacific Northwest wine production has arrived.
Never has there been such a "perfect storm" of quality and quantity in the Oregon bulk Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris markets.
Every conceivable style and AVA is represented in abundance.
200+,000 gallons of Oregon Pinot Noir (mostly Willamette Valley AVAs or sub AVAs), and 100+,000 gallons of Willamette Valley Pinot Gris are readily available.
Please contact us for samples, and more info.