January 23, 2012
Sweet is in. For a long time, if somebody enjoyed a sweet wine, they reached for White Zinfandel. White Zinfandel changed American wine culture because it transformed wine, in terms of affordability and flavor, to an everyday beverage.
Then, White Zinfandel consumption started to wane. The wine industry scratched its head for awhile trying to figure out what was next. For a time it was thought that maybe people wanted to stop drinking sweet and “graduate” to drier wines.
Some producers had been making Moscato for years as a dessert wine and it had a small but special niche. But then, almost out of nowhere, in part due to some key mentions in the hip hop culture a couple of years ago, Moscato began to take hold as a varietal to enjoy as a table/party wine.
Different is in. Along with the sweet wine lovers, there are a whole bunch of people, those who have loved wine for a long time, who are looking for a new adventure. New regions? New varietals? Bring it ON!
This trend will be guided by the growing legions of incredibly well-versed, certified, wine-loving, student-of-wine retailers, wine directors and sommeliers who want to share their discoveries with their customers.
Wine List Mark-Up Common Sense. People LOVE to complain about wine mark-ups. We love restaurants and we understand that wine service is part of the experience and the profit margin.
Our recommendations—don’t buy wine by the glass if you’re planning to have more than one—there’s a greater mark-up BTG. If you’re at the bar before dinner with a wine-loving group, ask to see the list and order the bottle.
At the table, ask the somm for recommendations. If you’re looking for a value wine, or a wine at a certain price point, don’t be afraid to let him/her steer you in the right direction. Most fine dining wine programs try to offer a broad range of prices because chefs, restaurateurs and wine directors want nothing more than to have their customers enjoy a delicious wine with their meal within their comfort price level.
Wine versus artisan cocktails. Here’s a trend we love. Restaurants who take great care with their wine lists make sure that the cocktails they offer are equally well curated and exquisitely made with top ingredients. Even if you’re not usually a fan of the harder stuff, what better way to start off a fine dinner than with a well mixed artisan cocktail—followed with wine with the meal. Best of both worlds.
Revival of the ultra-premium wine. The finest, most expensive wines, such as those from Napa Valley, were hit hard by the recession. After all, these wines are a luxury item, so if you had to, you could “down size” to any number of well-made wines at a more reasonable price..
With the anticipated resurgence in the economy, coupled with challenging growing seasons which affected yields, we think prices will begin to creep up.
The Facebook effect. People are hanging out on Facebook . Why not talk to them about wine? If you’re fan of wine, check our the social networks including Twitter, Pinterest, Foodspotting et al. Share your experiences. Joij in the fun!
A feast of riches. There are more wine choices, more widely available, than ever before. In most states you can buy a wide selection of wines at the supermarket, at Target, at Walmart, at Costco.
Added Bonus: Buying on-line and shipping to your state is easier than ever. Many states have relaxed thir shipping laws so you can now take advantage of the many bargains and treasures available on-line.
Milleniums-Schmilleniums. Wine marketers adore talking age demographics. Do Gen-Xers drink craft beer or cocktails instead of wine because they hate their Baby Booming parents? Do Baby Boomers drink wine because they hate their Gen-X-ing children? Do Millenials drink wine because they don’t have mortgages and they need to spend their income on something because it’s burning a hole in their skinny jeans pocket?
Here’s our POV: in 2012, everybody who drinks will be drinking more wine because it’s more accessible, highly available, there are more choices, at more price points, with more real and perceived value. There are more events and experiences where people can taste and enjoy wine together. There are more ways to talk about and share wine in the digital space. And drinking wine is fun and adds pleasure to one’s life, whether it’s enjoyed with the nightly meal, or on the weekend at a special night out.