Henry Powles, of bulk shipping and bottling firm Encirc, said fruit ciders have led the way and wines will follow in a bid to cash in on the love of sweeter drinks among younger adults.
He told OLN: “I think we are going to see more wine-based drinks produced in the coming years, with flavours added, both in a sparkling format and table wines.
“I think we will see an explosion on shelves of these drinks. That’s good for bulk shipping. They have a high sugar level so we can ship it over and add the sugar over here – that way you won’t get fermentation in transit.
“We can make sure they will be nice and fresh and flavourful. We can ship it in higher alcohol and we can reduce the alcohol when we are adding the flavour. You can ship 26,000 litres and you get 35,000 to 40,000 bottles out the other side, depending on how you cut it.”
He added: “These drinks can be a route into the more serious wines. To survive people have to produce drinks that people want to drink.”
Powles said: “There’s a perception that wine shipped in bulk is cheap and bad. But it has very large quality benefits. If you are shipping 26,000 litres it has a very high thermal mass, so it doesn’t heat up or cool down, but if you are shipping bottles it heats up and cools down overnight.
“Instead of a nice, gradual heating as it goes over the Equator you get an up and down effect every day. That’s not good for the quality of the wine.
“I can understand bottling high-end wines and shipping them in refrigerated containers but for the middle of the road I would be bulk shipping them.
“If you are doing something like bag-in-box, which has a shelf life, you can save yourself four to eight weeks of shelf life, which is good for you and your customers. “If you have a nine-month shelf life and you can save four to eight weeks of that by bulk shipping it’s a significant saving it’s a significant saving in the amount of time your customers have to sell your wine.
“It’s also more environmentally friendly because you are shipping so much more wine in a container. Instead of 32,000 bottles you can ship 26,000 litres, which is 34,600 bottles. It’s saving you money and saving the planet.”
One problem Encirc has faced recently is tankers arriving with “slightly elevated, dissolved oxygen levels” causing degradation.
“That’s an issue with the tanker itself or at loading at the original winery,” said Powles. “We are trying to get to the bottom of it. We are doing some trials.
“As long as we detect it in time and we can take the oxygen out and prevent further reactions and halt the degradations. We ship in from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile and 99% of shipments are absolutely fine.”