Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, pinpoints five key wine trends he sees for this year.
1: Moderation and convenience
Consumers are becoming more interested in drinking in moderation. This could manifest itself in either the ABV content, or size of the serving, Malandrakis said.
When consumers look for convenience, it’s not necessarily about speed for a high-paced lifestyle, but the occasions wine is consumed in.
“For example, the use of corks, or not,” said Malandrakis. “Something so basic has been a big issue. It might also be to do with different packaging – bag in box, for example.”
Consumers will also reassess their love of sweeter styles, Malandrakis added.
2: Everyone’s a critic : Social media and the wine world
Driving new trends will be social media - an entity that will only get more and more important as every drinker gets the chance to be a critic. “The social media universe is democratising the reviewing, comparing, and buying process,” said Malandrakis.
More discrete, high end wine clubs will always exist: but as far as the mass market is concerned, it is critical for the wine industry to get involved with social media, he added.
“This is how these people have grown up and lead their lives, it has to be an essential part of the whole process.”
3: Growth epicentre shifts to the US
Macro and legislative headwinds will take their toll on the Chinese market, suggests Malandrakis. This will put the US in the driving seat – which could be good news for premium drinks. “In the case of the US, we might see many consumers starting basic but moving slowly up the value chain,” he said.
4: Behind the bubbles: putting the sparkle in wine
Small independent producers and local vineyards will be an important force in repositioning sparkling wine and making it approachable, unpretentious and affordable for a younger demographic.
“While champagne remains caught in a spiral of navel gazing, other sparkling wines will keep their enviable trajectory under the heavier shadow of Prosecco and – to some extent - Cava,” said Malandrakis.
A key question for the category is the speed at which Asian palates will evolve to appreciate the category – sparkling wines are yet to gain a loyal following in the region, Malandrakis added.
5: Left-field opportunities: port and the cocktail culture.
“Niche segments will increasingly steal the limelight as the cyclical demand for nostalgia-tinged offers shows no sign of abating. Port - buoyed by higher end variants, hip retro kudos, expanding geographical clout and a hesitant embrace of the roaring cocktail culture – is one segment to watch out for,” said Malandrakis.
Flavoured wines will continue to be popular with a younger demographic, and Malandrakis says these are popular with both genders.