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Wine 999 – Is bulk-processed wine of equal quality as estate-bottled wine?

Help! I normally buy estate-bottled wine. More and more I see in supermarkets and other outlets, wine brought in bulk from New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia and bottled in the UK. 

A contentious topic but in short – yes, bulk wine can be equal to estate-bottled wine.

Bulk wine still has a reputation as being sub-par quality, but in this day and age that’s becoming more of an archaic thought. It tends to be the larger producers who ship wine in bulk because it can significantly reduce cost. Because producers aren’t paying to move glass bottles across the ocean, they are able to move much higher volumes (bottles take up lots of space!). While the cost savings may seem insignificant on a small scale, they can really add up – which means that customers can actually get a better quality wine at a given price. Another benefit is that bulk wines being moved long haul tend to be quite stable.

With all that said, it really comes down to individual producers. Just because a wine is estate-bottled doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be a fantastic bottle. Equally, just because you grab a wine shipped in bulk doesn’t mean it will be of lesser quality. It really comes down to the care and attentiveness that goes into creating world- class wines, which can arrive here in bottles or in bulk.

Don’t believe us? Give our NEW Devil’s Creek a try. It did not arrive individually bottled, but we guarantee you will love it.

From the award-winning winery behind the Russian Jack – which just grabbed Decanter Magazine’s Platinum – Best in Show: Best Value Sauvignon Blanc – comes Devil’s Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016. Over 10,000 wines are entered in the Decanter Wine Awards every year, and only 34 of them are awarded Best in Show – so you can be assured the family behind Devil’s Creek know a thing or two about crafting excellent Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Erika Toni

    This is an ultimate guide to provide details to any novice wine lover like me. Erin, you have truly said that the most common way bacteria gets into the wine is through oak barrels. I am definitely using your tips for my next wine selection. I am sure this will make me and my wine outshine the party. The bigger is the wine glass, the better.

  • Gary Coker

    Interesting. Do you really think wine that has travelled half way around the world in a giant plastics bag and then needs to be sparged and further filtered to “bring it back to life” holds the same allure as carefully handled estate bottled products ?

  • Gary Janes

    We ship in ISO containers, no different to bottling at source!

  • Peter Crawford

    In a blind tasting I can’t see how it is delivered. Knowing would prejudice

  • grapevine

    I guess Great wine is probably best Chateau bottled, but am happy to believe that wine Vatted in bulk at Co-OP’s and shipped in bulk, is as good as wine bottled at the co-op

    I guess that when we have left the EU, there could be a significant difference in costs between wine on which bottling costs have been subject to import duty, and that where bottling has been done in the UK

    As a possible non sequitur , I have noticed that new vintage Ned SB is too fresh to be at it’s best when first released before Christmas, and is best cellared til Easter


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