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28 Jan, 2018

The top wine trends for 2018

The top wine trends for 2018

Bigger will be better

Magnums and jeroboams haven’t taken up very much shelf space at bottle-os in the past, but change is in the air.

ALDI released its first-ever jeroboam of prosecco in the UK for Christmas and it was a hit. Buyer Mike James says people are increasingly using these formats to add theatre at larger scale celebrations and parties.

The World Wine Guys' Mike DeSimone tells Forbes: «Big bottles are on the rise, especially for entertaining at home or parties in restaurants. Look out for magnums in wine shops and on wine lists.»

Drinks Business also notes: «Magnums are big news. In 2017 already, we’ve seen a 378% increase in year-on-year sales of super-sized bottles under £20. Rosés and house reds in 1.5 litre measures are proving particularly popular for weddings and parties, where a big celebration warrants big bottles! Wines in magnums also take longer to reach their optimum drinking age, this adds to the intensity, making them the connoisseur’s choice for premium wines. So expect BIG things for 2018.

«It's is all about socialising around a bottle,' explains Richard Weaver, Buying Director at Majestic. «Magnums create brilliant centrepieces for dinner parties and events — particularly if you’re cutting back on your eating-out spend'.»

Organic, natural and sustainable?

Vinepair predicts natural wine will reach its «tipping point» in 2018.

«The fervor surrounding natural wine, the wildly popular, loosely defined category of wines produced biodynamically or organically, is catapulting toward a fever pitch," it says. «We think it will peak and eventually decline in 2018. As experts question the category, and the market is inevitably saturated with bottles of varying caliber, consumers and distributors alike will start to backpedal. We expect to see some of the bar and restaurant lists solely devoted to natural wines start to even out their offerings with traditional bottles.»

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, authors of the recently published «Kitchen Creativity: Unlocking Culinary Genius with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs» agree that natural wines are big news.

They tell Forbes: «We'll be turning to wines that reflect our raising consciousnesses, drinking more natural, sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines from winemakers who have embraced these values in their winemaking philosophies.»

Christine Ricketts, cellar director at Cellarmasters, agrees. She tells Good Food: «Organic wines have been increasing in popularity in the last few years and, along with biodynamic wines, will boom in 2018.»

Lighter reds leading the way

Dorenburg and Page believe that our evolving diets will also have an impact on wine.

«Our increasingly plant-strong diets (whether as full-fledged vegetarians or vegans, or simply eaters of more vegetable-centric diets) will call forth a trend away from ginormous veg-overpowering reds (like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel) toward more veg-friendly lighter reds (eg Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc, Grenache), rosés, and white wines," they note.

News Corp's national wine writer Tony Love is a big Cabernet Franc fan. He says cabernet franc is the red wine variety to look out for in 2018.

«There's one favourite mini-trend I’ve loved and want to see more of," he notes. «It is … drum roll … cabernet franc.»

Christine Ricketts agrees that lighter reds are leading sales. She tells Good Food: «Pinot noir is the fastest growing variety in the red wine category; Aussies are loving light reds.»

World wine experts predict Aussie rise

Globally, Aussie wine is continuing to win new fans. Kaitlyn Caruke, head sommelier of Walnut Street Cafe in Philadelphia tells Forbes she’s a big believer in Australian wine: «The wines I have seen and tasted over the last year… are incredible and I think they’ll explode especially in the natural wine scene. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if more wine professionals are traveling Down Under or if some of these wines hit a cult status.»

Vivino dug into data from its 2018 Wine Style Awards and has concluded consumption of Australian wines will continue grow. «While we saw an increase in global consumption up 11% from 2015 to 2016, this trend continues to see growth into 2018," it says. «The world loves warm climate wines. Tasmania made a remarkably strong presence, enjoying the number one and four spots for Australian Pinot Noir. The Margaret River also jumps out, showing a significant increase in worldwide consumption of Chardonnay from that region. Overall, Australia has been showing some of the most significant growth in consumption worldwide over any other country—which is something to watch for.»

Out-of-the-box varieties

The desire to explore new flavours will be a big trend in 2018.

The World Wine Guys' Mike DeSimone says: «Consumers will be able to find more and more formerly obscure varieties like Georgian Saperavi or Turkish Bogazkere, especially on by-the-glass lists.»

Kaitlyn Caruke adds: «Spanish wines are stepping out of the shadow of what’s already known… Mencía is my grape of choice right now. I’m a big Gamay person, so tasting through a handful of Mencía-based wines in the past year has been a real treat. It has that same juicy, bright acidity one looks for when drinking Beaujolais. Laura Lorenzo is making one out of Galicia that tastes like five-berry pie. I poured Alguiera from Ribeira Sacra by the glass. The wines are great for food pairing, complimentary to many dishes.»

Christine Ricketts agrees: «Although Aussies love to support local winemakers, we are also increasingly expanding our wine repertoire with international wines. Sardinian wines like Vermentino, Sicilian wines such as Nero D’Aviola and Portuguese varieties like Touriga Nacional are especially taking our fancy.»

Less focus on seasonality

Traditional ideas about rosé wines being for summer and Champagne being for special occasions are fading.

Dornenburg and Page note that «we've learned that life can be unpredictable, so people will be drinking more of what they love and what makes them happy, including rosé wines and sparkling wines—year-round, and not just during summer and the holidays (respectively).»

DeSimone echoes the sentiment: «People are learning to break rules: They drink red in summer and white and rosé all year, and the pairings are more about spicing than ‘red with meat/white with fish.'"

Style queen Vogue agrees. It recently publishing an article entitled '6 Ways to Drink Rosé This Winter'.
«The idea of rosé only being enjoyed in warm weather is thankfully fading away," notes Eduardo Porto Carreiro, Beverage Director of Ford Fry Restaurants, in the article. «One of my favorite ways to enjoy pink wine is actually drinking a great Brut Rosé Champagne with a hearty slow roasted dish in the middle of winter.»

Vogue concludes: «You heard that, folks? 'Rosé' and 'slow roasted' uttered in the same breath—it can be done!»

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