vinoFirst evidence of international wine trade refers to 3000 BC making it one of the first products, which entered international market. Since that time the industry has achieved 31 billion dollars of export value in 2015.

Nowadays the European Union is the world’s leader in wine production with a share of 65%. France, Italy, and Spain are the largest wine producing countries, representing 81% of total output. They are followed by Germany, Portugal, Romania, Greece, Hungary, and Austria.

Despite its own facilities, Europe still imports a considerable amount of wine from fast-growing wine producing regions such as Australia, Chile, South Africa. Approximately 64% of import is bulk wine, which is to be bottled and then traded in retail.

Increasing demand for bulk wines is mainly driven by lower transport costs. A standard container typically holds 12,000 bottles, whilst a standard flexi-tank or ISO-tank holds the equivalent of more than 30,000 bottle – twice more product in the same box.

Along with costs reduction, transportation in bulk brings another benefits to the market player. By some estimates, bulk shipments has reduced the carbon footprint of wine transportation by 42%. Another advantage is risks minimization – as opposed to fragile glass bottles, bulk wine packages eliminates the risk of bottle damages inside the container.

Typically, there are two ways for bulk wine transportation: ISO-tank and flexitank. ISO-tanks were originally designed in 1964 and used to be the only option for bulk wine transportation. However, ISO-tanks have two disadvantages:

  • Risk of product contamination in case of improper cleaning process
  • Additional costs of returning and cleaning

Flexitank  – a single-used bladder, installed in standard 20ft container – entered the market in 90s when the first commercial production occurred. Very soon market players appraised the technology and during the last 20 years flexitanks have gained 10% of bulk wine transportation volume. Literally, each liter of bulk wine out of 10 is now transported in flexitanks.

To save the quality, wine transported in flexitanks should be protected from 3 destructive factors:

  • Oxidation
  • Taint and contamination
  • Re-fermentation

BeFlexi Eco model is specially designed to ensure the preservation of wine quality during the transportation. This model contains EVOH or Aluminum layer, which acts as an oxygen barrier to prevent wine from oxidation.

The protection from taint and contamination is guaranteed by the single-use nature of flexitanks. Wine shipped in reusable ISO tanks can be tainted by residues of previous cargoes. Flexitank is always new and includes barrier layers that do not allow the passage of taint compounds.

Re-fermentation can be caused either by faults in production process or by micro-organisms. BeFlexi manufactures are certified with ISO 22000 and follow the requirements for a food safety management system. This ensures that BeFlexi package is sterile, free of micro-organisms and thus eliminates the risk of re-fermentation.

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