One of my goals with this column (in addition to offering honest recommendations of wines available in our market) is to stay apprised of current issues in the wine world and share how they relate to us, the consumers.
If you’re a frequent reader of this column, some of these “trends” may be familiar to you, as I’ve written about them before. And I think many may be here to stay.
Over the past few months I’ve been keeping my eye on the forecasts among the experts at Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wine Enthusiast, The Wine Council and Nielson’s annual report on U.S. wine trends.
Here’s a recap and a few predictions of what’s to come.
Bubbly is overflowing. The Wine Council reported last year’s trends saw, “Thirty-one percent of drinkers purchased Prosecco for the first time but another 35 percent shifted to other sparkling wines.” If this pattern continues, we are going to see more and more producers considering offering bubbly. And with lower alcohol content, fewer calories than most wines and a range of prices I predict we will see sparkling wine and Champagne throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.
More options by the glass. This trend may be the most beneficial to consumers. With advances in technology including wine taps and more sophisticated preservation devices for keeping opened bottles fresh, wine drinkers will have more opportunities to enjoy a wider variety of wines. The Coravin system, designed by a medical device inventor, works by inserting a long needle into the cork of an unopened bottle of wine. With the push of a button, argon goes into the bottle allowing the wine to flow through the same needle. After the pour and taste, remove the needle and, voila, the cork reseals.
The Rise of Female Wine Drinkers. According to a January Entrepreneur article, “Women comprise 56 percent of the total wine drinking population, which is particularly interesting in the case of a millennial, where women account for 66 percent of the population. … And while men represent 67 percent of beer sales, women are increasingly being wooed by wine, which they view as more innovative.”
Who says wine has to come in a bottle? The same article in Entrepreneur gave strong statistics supporting the idea that the bottle is being pushed aside for the box. “While 750-mL glass bottles solidly hold 70 percent of the market, 3 liter boxes and Tetra packs posted the strongest growth, while cans are also attracting consumer attention. At 3.3 percent of the market share, 3 liter boxes grew 13.7 percent and 12.3 percent in value and volume, respectively, while Tetra (only one percent of the market) grew 21.9 percent and 21.8 percent. Cans — just a tenth of a share — grew by 59.9 percent and 128.9 percent in value and volume.”
What’s that grape? Wine drinkers are eager to explore all the world has to offer. We will see more and more consumers reaching for unique grape varietals, some unheard of by most, such as Picpoul, Tannat, Mourvedre, Vermentino and Aglianico.