A Look into the Wine Crystal Ball for 2017

Rosé, anyone? Image: Getty

As 2016 enters its final month, it’s time to assess the impact of various trends that will be talked about in 2017.

This week, wine:

1. Rosé is here to stay.

It’s no surprise to many operators – rosé is no longer a summer-only beverage. However, as demand for pink-hued wines rises it will become increasingly difficult to source some of the more popular labels since production hasn’t kept up with demand. Rosé exports from Provence, the main exporter of pink to the US, grew 58% by volume and 74% by value in 2015, according to the CIVP/Vins de Provence trade group. The rise marks the largest increase in Provence rosé wine exports to the US in 15 years, and the 12th consecutive year of double-digit growth for the segment.

Aaccording to Nielsen data, imported rosé priced $12 or more per bottle at retail grew more than 50% by volume and 60% by value last year. It’s time to consider listing at least one by the glass.

2. Customers know more than ever, and you better keep up.

Millennials are well known as explorers, and when it comes to wine, that means you can expect them to have opinions about unusual varietals and lesser known regions in Spain, Greece, Germany, Portugal, and other regions. Many smaller wine retailing specialists are popping up in urban areas to take advantage of their tastes, and restaurant and bar wine lists will need to evolve as well.

3. Lighter reds.

Dark, rich and lush Cabernets certainly have their place, but reds lighter in color, texture and flavor are gaining attention lately. Lower alcohol isn’t necessarily part of the mix, though those wines are also getting a second look. Garnachas and Mencias from Spain, Cabernet Franc from the Loire, Pinot Noir from the Pacific Northwest, and Gamay from a variety of locales are gaining traction.

Look out for a surge of interest in the next sparkling wine to catch fire, Italian Lambrusco.

4. Cava takes off.

The Italian sparkler Prosecco has become one the American wine drinker’s favorite wines in a fairly short period of time. One result has been a more casual approach among younger consumers compared to their parents, who tended to pop the corks only on special occasions. Now that sparkling wines are essential during brunch and many bars and restaurants routinely offer Prosecco by the glass, Spanish Cava is finally getting the respect it deserves. Available at a wider price point range and with both popularly-priced and more expensive offerings, Cava is poised to become the next hot by the glass wine.

5. Wine in cocktails.

Now that lower alcohol cocktails have become established as an important offering, especially at restaurant bars, bartenders are often using both still and sparkling wines to create contemporary long drinks. White and red sangrias by the pitcher and glass are expected to continue growing, while some wines – New World Sauvignon Blancs, for example – have flavor profiles perfectly suited to mix with gin, tequila or other white spirits.


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