There are several influential reports published each year that attempt to explain the current state of the wine industry and predict its future. While some rely on hard facts and statistics, others take a subjective stance based on industry experience and cyclical behavior.
Here are five wine trends to pay attention to as we pass the mid-point of the year.
The future is now
Several factors come into play here. For one, foreign wine producers, particularly in France, have been slow to update processes in winemaking that would increase supply while decreasing cost per bottle. Burgundy, for example, is grown in a region that’s incredibly difficult to harvest—an area parallel to Seattle, WA. Many European wines rely on region rather than variety to sell wine. For consumers, this means higher prices for foreign wines grown in areas less suitable for grape vines. It is likely old traditions will limit foreign production, which will result in exclusivity from top producers and higher prices.
The digital space has also greatly influenced traditional methods of buying and selling wine. While direct-to-consumer sales are still only about 15% of total wine sales, social media has proliferated a variety of voices discussing different types of wine, from both the producers and the consumers. Now more than ever, people are learning and interacting with wine in ways that allow new wineries to gain market presence where they once could not.
Wineries embracing the general advancement of wine production, as well as incorporating technology to improve customer access, knowledge and experience, will be the winners in the future.
Boutique wineries rise
The quality of domestic wine is better than ever. As demand for foreign wines in the United States wanes due to pricing and availability, there are increased opportunities for boutique and family-owned wineries to step in and showcase their flavors.
California reported a harvest of 4 million tons in 2014, one of the largest on record—Oregon and Washington are also yielding high-quality grapes. This is great news for the domestically produced wines coming from throughout these regions, which are predicted to be among the most sought after in the coming year.
Healthy competition among smaller wineries keeps quality high and prices reasonable. For collectors most familiar with European wines, the time has never been better to explore offerings from Western states.
Millennials are bringing an interesting twist to the wine market by introducing recipes and cocktails featuring wine—many looking for distinctive flavors to help define the next big cocktail craze. It’s not traditionally considered a large segment, but the niche group of consumers and restaurants is growing, adding its fair share of influence on the industry.
This trend was coined “wine mixology” according to one report, and described common mixing ingredients like fruit and fruit juices, club soda and liqueurs, many poured over ice. Some wineries have focused on this trend internally and offer special wine blends, a careful mix of varieties that offer unique aromas and flavors.
A demand for fine wines
As the unemployment picture improves in the US along with lower oil prices and better exchange rates, the market for quality wines has opened dramatically.
According to one report, fine wines will enjoy a breakout year in 2015, increasing 14 to 18 percentage points by year’s end. Bottles over $20 have been steady since last year and continue to increase as a category. The term “trading up” is used to describe the trend, while wines below $9 performed poorly for the second year in a row. As the economy grows stronger, consumers will seek out better wines to fill their glasses and many are likely to come from boutique wineries.
During the financial crisis, sparkling wines suffered greatly—Champagne and other sparkling varieties may have been thought too opulent considering the times. However, for the sixth year in a row, bubbles are on the rise, up 7 percent in 2015. Prosecco and cava were among the most popular sparkling wines last year.
The category shows no sign of slowing and is expected to grow even further in 2016. What’s more, there’s been a huge push from domestic producers to attract millennials, who are predicted to boost this wine category even further.
Enjoy all the varieties that Peju, a family-owned winery in Napa Valley, California, has to offer. We invite you to explore our website for more information about experiencing our wines and events.
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