The opening of the first World Bulk Wine Fair in Amsterdam in November 2009 caused few ripples in the wine industry. The debate over must-visit international exhibitions for most trade visitors was still essentially between Vinexpo in Bordeaux and Hong Kong, and ProWein in Düsseldorf, with a few votes still going to the London Wine Trade Fair.
Those who did make their way to Holland that year found a modest collection of shell-scheme exhibition booths, and a catalogue that came in the form of a sheet of paper. What many of them also found, more importantly, were the kind of wines they were looking for.
Over the following decade, the show, rebranded as WBWE, has quietly grown to the point at which the 2018 event attracted some 250 exhibitors and 6,000 trade visitors from 60 countries. Apart from the shell-scheme booths – which, despite the addition of picture-walls, have mostly retained their utilitarian style – the exhibition has developed other attractions.