What a Difference a Year Makes

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.

Bringing the Northwest to Texas!

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!

Bridges Being Built

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.

2016 Washington Vintage, Where Quantity and Quality Convene

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 and Style

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 Washington Red Market

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.

News from Amsterdam

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 in Focus

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.

2016 Vintage is Big and Beautiful

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.

Pacific Northwest Wine Industry Rushing Ahead

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 Tasting, Paso Robles

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.

Custom Bubbles!

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.

Here come the Pinots!

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.

2015 Washington Reds

The interest in 2015 Washington reds is at a record high compared to the trends from the past 4 vintages.

The modestly light harvest in Washington coupled with the historically small harvests in the Central and Northern Coasts of California have created fast and furious consumption of available bulk wine inventories.

Many large bulk producers project that some of their more popular inventories will be sold out almost a year ahead of normal schedules.

Off and Running

2016 is off and running at the Incredible Bulk Wine Company.

The amount of interest from the Central and Northern Coasts of California are unprecedented in terms of the inquiries into Pacific Northwest bulk wines.

There has been a good deal of interest, and movement, on Washington aromatic whites and red Bordeaux varietals.  

Oregon sees unending interest in Pinot Noir, but also in Bordeaux and Rhone varieties in Southern Oregon as well.

We will keep our clients informed of the market's ever changing trends and surges as they become apparent to us.

Happy Holidays

Everyone at Incredible Bulk Wine Company would like to wish all of our clients, buyers, friends and colleagues a most happy holiday season.

We are grateful for all of our relationships throughout the wine industry, and greatly value the positive relationships and what we learn from each one of these relationships.

We hope that you will be happily spending the holiday season with the folks you love, and drinking some tasty beverages, of course!

We look forward to all of the great things the New Year will bring!

Happy Holidays from the Incredible Bulk Wine Company

What is Your Next Opportunity?

At the end of the year, wineries seem to slow in production schedules, and most Vintners take time off to wind down after having wrapped up harvest.

There is also a good deal of planning on the business side for 2016 and beyond into the future.

When some wineries look at how to get over the hump in terms of overhead vs profit margin, some of them will look to consider negociant wines as a way to supplement their portfolios.

When comparing the ongoing cost of production on a project of any size versus buying wine in bulk, bottling the following month, and having the wine to market, perhaps 6 weeks or less from time of purchase, sometimes the decision is easy.

The Pacific Northwest bulk market offers myriad opportunities to help your winery project surge from break even to profitable, and this could begin as soon as next year.

Washington Chardonnay Surging

Since the bulk market in the Pacific Northwest is a relatively new industry, and trends are difficult to understand and analyze.

Chardonnay was available abundantly from the 2014 vintage and largely was retained by wineries and bottled since the bulk wine sales were sluggish.

Conversely, interest in the 2015 vintage has been increasingly active, and broad.  Washington bottled Chardonnay must have increased as local interest is higher than the two previous years 300%.

We will continue to try to study and understand the market to better serve our customers.