Tackling the modern challenges of bulk wine distribution


A decade ago, bulk shipping was generally viewed as a cost-effective way to move low-priced wine around the world. Many within the trade looked down on wines that were shipped in bulk, but they are now starting to realise the process can actually lead to superior quality and freshness.

“It gets shipped in these huge plastic bags, and the oxygen barrier within that is phenomenal,” says Lloyd. “If you bottle in the country of origin, you introduce oxygen, so its life of oxidising will start then, while it’s moving around the world on a ship. If you move it in bulk, it hasn’t met any oxygen until it is bottled. In the old method, it had months out at sea.”

He adds that a lot of bottling lines around the world have not been upgraded for a decade or more, so the oxygen control during the bottling process often leaves a lot to be desired. The team at The Park bought the best fillers from Germany, meaning that “the oxygen ingress is almost zero”, according to Lloyd. “There’s a number of scientific reasons from a quality perspective that mean we will get our wine to the consumer fresher in bulk.”

The Park initially shipped entry-level wine in bulk, but now it also ships wine that would fall into the premium category. “People in the industry have to go through the journey,” says Lloyd. “At ¢rst, they thought they had to get it in the bottle as soon as possible at the vineyard. From a quality and sustainability standpoint, it’s brilliant. It is absolutely the way to go.”

Bulk shipping is also more sustainable, as shipping emissions are reduced by 40% when compared to traditional transportation in bottles. The Park has worked hard to reduce its overall emissions in recent years. It installed a large wind turbine to generate half of its energy, and it has produced zero waste for landfill for more than three years, while plans are afoot to add solar panels on the roof.

The facility is not yet carbon neutral, so it offsets its remaining emissions by sponsoring various green projects around the world. Yet the team is constantly working on ways to bring the total carbon footprint down.

“Everyone who works at The Park has bought into this, whether it’s waste segregation or just finding different ways to make our facility run more efficiently,” says Lloyd. “We’re not stopping. We will be the first guys to have the first electric HGV on the road. Everyone is passionate and the team at all levels is looking for that next way that we can lessen our impact. 

“We 3D print some of our engineering parts. We are now looking at closed loops. The labels we put on the products have a plastic backing, but we’re going to take that plastic backing and convert it into the plastic used for 3D printing, so basically our waste product will end up being made into machinery – and printed on site, so we don’t have to ship parts in from somewhere in Europe. That’s the sort of leading thinking that the guys at The Park are enthused about and enjoy. We’re lucky to have the ownership that allows us to go out and buy 3D printers and bring some of this technology to life.”