The wine market - wine lovers associate this with the trade of wines, which are sold at prices from about 3 to 5 euro in bottles. Another wine market is often not even noticed although it has a considerable importance in terms of volume: The bulk wine market. Many producers produce wine without the aim of bottling it and selling it under their own label, but they produce wine in as large a quantity as possible, which is then sold as bulk wine by tanker.
The prices that are achieved here are unimaginably low to the eyes of the average wine drinker: the range is from 20 cents per litre for the simplest processing wine, to 1.50 euros for a Rheingau Spätlese, to 2 euros for some red wines. In southern Italy and other regions, the price is simply based on the degree of alcohol. Per percentage degree of alcohol and hectoliter (=100 liters!) of wine (hectograde), for instance, about 3.5 euro are paid for a Merlot from Venice.
Even the prices for Bordeaux, which are so high in our imagination, are quickly put into perspective when one knows that a maximum of 3,300 euros can be achieved for 9 hl from St. Emilion. That is 3.60 euros per litre. For a simple Bordeaux without closer appellation, it is only 1.30 euro.
What happens to these wines? They are bought by big wineries and bottled there under the label of the winery and marketed in large quantities as cheap wine, or they are sold by the glass. The well-known sparkling wine brands, which sell their products in large quantities on the shelves of food retailers, obtain their base wines from the bulk wine market, for example. The base wine for a Riesling sparkling wine from the Rheingau, for example, costs the wineries less than 80 cents per liter. Exports also play a big role, of course. German white wine is currently the cheapest wine that can be bought as bulk wine in Europe. The majority of the notorious Liebfrauenmilch, which is exported abroad, originally entered the trade chain as bulk wine at 30 to 40 cents per litre. Of the total of about 2.2 million hectoliters of wine that Germany exported abroad in 2001, the share of cask wine was about 14 percent, which is a total of about 30 million liters in one year.