Industry observers, including JF Hillebrand boss David Mawer, have said that bulk wine will now start to plateau after strong growth in the past decade.
But Kingsland chief executive Andy Sagar told OLN: “It will continue to grow as everybody is looking for economies of scale. It accounts for around half of all wine sales here. We may have swung in favour of bulk now – and there’s still a way to go.
“Kingsland was always perceived to be at the dirty end of the wine business. But that perception is changing. There is still a long way to go in terms of credibility but it’s becoming more accepted.”
Sagar added that bulk shipping is important as the industry aims to meet sustainability demands and align itself to the green agenda.
Kingsland has seven production lines at a 17-acre site in Manchester, but it is also branching out into many other areas as it seeks to drive value into the business and offer the trade a “one-stop shop”.
“We doubled volume sales between 2006 and 2012,” said Sagar. “But we could see where the supply chain was going and we realised you have to chase value.”
It bought the Stratford’s wine agency business to broaden its offering and “change our skill set” and recently consolidated all strands of the business – including the Legacy agency – under the Kingsland name.
Annual turnover stands at £161 million, with a profit of £4 million, but Sagar aims to see that rise as he chases value.
Fruit-flavoured wines, brands aimed at young adults and low-alcohol wines are all part of the vision.
An embryonic brand called Juicy Grape Wines is designed to appeal to consumers who have been stolen away from wine by fruit cider.
Marketing director Neil Anderson, who recently joined the business after an eight-year stint at Accolade, said: “There is a whole explosion of fruit cider. Fruit engages with consumers but I don’t feel it’s about shoving a load of fruit down their necks. We need to be subtler than that.
“We need to make wine contemporary and interesting to younger consumers, otherwise we will lose them to the other categories, such as fruit cider.”
Another planned launch to appeal to young consumers is Live To, which will have variants such as Live To Dance.
Kingsland also sees potential in the low-alcohol category and highlights a rising demand for fractionals and bag-in-box as areas to grow the business.
Sagar warned of further consolidation in the wine trade and said it is inevitable that “the strong will get stronger and the weak will fall by the wayside”, but Anderson said Kingsland’s unique one-stop offering gives it a competitive advantage going forward.