I love trend-forecasting. Not only is it interesting to see whether the year lives up to what is predicted, but trends also reflect on what happened in recent history and how it is being interpreted by the specific industry.
So let’s have a look at The Drinks Business Top 10 wine trends for 2014 as published yesterday.
1. A new era of discovery
According to The Drinks Business, the average British consumer will be realising the “value and interest” in wines from areas other than the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy – especially from Europe – think Bierzo, Hungary, Campania, Basilicata, Turkey.
“’I’m not predicting the sudden disappearance of the mainstream, but the fact that diversification is now translating into sales gives me great encouragement for an even more interesting wine scene in 2014.’, says Alex Hunt MW, purchasing director at Berkmann Wine Cellars.”
Having more adventurous wine consumers can only be a positive for the industry. People will not stop buying Bordeaux and Burgundy, and no one would want that, but to be willing to try a wine from Bierzo, for example, indicates a more open mind and perhaps in 2014 we will see people being more experimental when it comes to food and wine pairings as well as wine styles.
2. Millennials will drive the new wine culture
The Millennials seem to have the wine industry all excited. I have blogged about them twice! (A Millennial of wine drinkers – a young generation seeking sophistication and Millennials – worth another look sharing some insights as to how they think and buy.
I think it is very exciting to have a new generation interested in wine. Not only because they are avid consumers willing to spend, but also because they are optimistic and confident, challenging the wine industry to use platforms such as social media and online shops to sell to them.
3. Greater balance in supply and demand will be matched by a shift in global consumption
“While it is predicted that consumption will continue to dip in mature European markets, the slow but steady growth in a host of populous countries, including the US and emerging territories such as China, will further ease the global glut and bulk wine prices will continue to rise.”
I couldn’t agree more. The overall trend is a decline in European wine production and a rise in the production of New World countries – China for instance, has become the 6th largest wine producer in the world! And then the world-wide wine consumption has increased with 8% since 2000. The consumption trend is similar to the production figures: Europe is declining, consuming less and less wine and the rest of the world is increasing. Seems quite balanced to me.
4. Sustainability will increasingly top the agenda.
“The question for wine producers will increasing be not ‘are you organic and sustainable?’ but ‘why aren’t you?’ as consumers come to expect producers to provide good environmental and social credentials as the norm.”
As per my earlier blog, Taking Sustainability Seriously: “To really work though, sustainability should be a priority for everyone – from big international companies to individuals. It is a moral obligation and a lifestyle choice with an impact much wider than the very important ecology. For Sustainability to work and be sustainable (sic), it must also be economically viable.”
5. Chardonnay spearheads a cooler climate New World white revival
“In a reversal of fortune from the ABC days, Chardonnay will continue to win back converts as both trade and consumer catch up with the new wave of leaner, cooler climate examples.”
And about time. I have always loved Chardonnay, but then it should be Chardonnay I am tasting, not the barrel. A beautifully balanced and elegant Chardonnay is hard to beat and probably the most versatile white wine when it comes to food.
6. Evolving communication means more direct communication
“As wine critic Jamie Goode speculates, ‘There has been an explosion of the creation of content, but this increase hasn’t necessarily been matched by people’s consumption.’”
I find the dynamic world of online communication so exciting. We have to continuously evaluate whether we are being heard in the cacophany of communication.
While we may feel that we are bombarded with communication from a plethora of platforms and in a variety of ways, we need to ensure that what we communicate is effective and trustworthy and that we are visible without being obtrusive, because today, more than ever before, effective communication is fundamental to our success.
7. Breaking down the “Wall of Wine”
“In the recent past many companies have felt that their job is complete when they have made the sale to the supermarket chain and then it was the responsibility of the supermarket to sell the wine,” says McGuigan. “The supermarket is incredibly important but we must realise that the supermarket is the conduit to the consumer and we have a responsibility to help ‘pull’ the product off the shelves.”
The world of wine is too competitive, our jobs are never done. It is not about getting a listing in a supermarket, it is about getting consumers excited about your product. If they are, the wine will not only be on the supermarket shelve, it will also fly from it!
8. China’s fine wine thirst replaced by slower but sustainable mid-level growth
“’Chinese consumer knowledge about wine continues to increase, and they are more and more interested in wines that are of good quality, and which represent good value for money, so there will be increasing opportunities for entry to midlevel priced wines,’ says Matthew Gong at ASC.”
This is important. Remember that while the Chinese wine consumption growth rate was really good, it was from a very small basis. While we need it to grow, we also need it to do so consistently and to do that we need the general Chinese consumer interested in wine and cannot only afford focussing on the exclusive market.
9. Legislation and taxation will continue to increase globally
“Legislation and taxation are likely to follow an upward curve globally as the agendas of the legislators and health lobbies continue to squeeze the wine trade in both mature and developing wine markets”
What is there to say? Nothing is certain but death and taxes…
10. On- and Off-trade boundaries continue to blur
“Expect to see more hybrids, whether in the fashion of the Oxford Wine Café, New Street Wine Shop, restaurants with offsales including Gauthier Soho or trailblazer St John, or even wine bars owned by specialist importers such as Terroirs and co from Les Caves de Pyrene or Brindisa’s restaurants.”
I think this is a great trend. Wine should become less exclusive as to where and when and should become part of our lifestyle.