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The Top Wine Trends Expected in 2016


The wine world is exploding.

So many cool things are happening but to get a real sense of what to expect in 2016, I reached out to the pros to see what they think will be the upcoming trends. And it’s all good news for wine drinkers.

People Are Talking

People are talking about wine more than ever and I hope they never stop. They’re slowly getting to a point where they’re no longer intimidated by sommeliers, they’re reading stuff on the Web and even enrolling in wine-education courses.

If only we were this excited about school.

This is my most favorite trend so you’re homework assignment is to keep it going.

Wine Tech

Wine technology is on fire. “But a wine app that just takes and shares wine pics is no longer new or enough, ” says Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, a Master of Wine who manages the wine team at Wine Ring.

Users are expecting more.  And developers are stepping up so expect to see some advanced apps in the coming year.

Technology also is being widely used at the vineyards and in the production process. As a result, we get higher-quality products that meet our healthy and sustainable demands.

Sparkling – Not just For Breakfast Any More

We all love a mimosa in the morning, but consider keeping the bottle out for lunch.

“The interest in and consumption of sparkling wines is going to grow,” says Greg Lambrecht, founder and chairman at Coravin, the magical device that lets you pour a glass of wine without uncorking the bottle.

So expect more winemakers to start producing it. It’s lower in alcohol (so ostensibly you can drink more), lower in calories (so ostensibly you can drink more) and bubbies just seem to make us happy.

And that includes Rosé too. “We will see more rose than ever before this summer. We even began seeing some winter Rose,” says Gary Fisch, owner of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace in New Jersey.

Happy already.

More Wine-by-the-Glass Options

Thankfully, we still start to see more wine-by-the-glass options at restaurants and bars.

And that includes wine shops. “Brick-and-mortar wine retailers are going to increase tastings and try-before-you-buy programs for their clients to compete with online wine retail,” suggests Lambrecht.

And don’t forget to ask for a taste first.  No one will be insulted and you’ll be happier in the end.

Syrah instead of King Cab

Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a really dark-skinned grape. So, as a result, the wine ends up being bigger and darker than a Cabernet. And actually it has more antioxidants than other red wines, if you’re looking for an added health perk.

Well, wine directors and sommeliers are loving it these days. “Cool climate versions from areas like California, Australia, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand will gain even more popularity on wine lists,” predicts Gino Colangelo, president of Colangelo & Partners, one of the largest fine-wine-focused PR agencies in the country.

Because wine drinkers love their big reds and Syrah is much cheaper than King Cab these days. Not to mention it goes great with a ton of food, especially you’re BBQ.

Millennials Matter

The wine world, like everyone else is trying to figure it out, wants to know how to approach millennials. And now even kids from the post-millennial generation are turning 21.

But producers are confused. “Boomers and Gen-Xers want exclusivity, and access to hard-to-get wines. But Millennials are not committed to brands. They just want value and something they will enjoy,” says Fisch.  Cool labels don’t hurt, either.

So expect to see a lot of experimentation in the wines and in the marketing as vintners try to figure out what works.

Anything but Napa and Bordeaux

Wine investors are getting tired of the inflated pricing of wines from Napa and Bordeaux, notes Colangelo.  “So look to Italian wines – like Brunellos, Barolos and Super Tuscans – to become the affordable mainstream investment.”

And with that, those that don’t invest in wine will also look to other countries for value.

Consider Portugal. “With over 250 grape varieties, and many of them indigenous to Portugal, wines from Portugal are starting to attract some well-due attention,” says Fisch.

Watch Australia. After years of declining sales, many are realizing the wines are a great value.

And my two cents: Try South Africa. Great wines coming out of there.

Finally – the Story Matters

“Folks in our country will be more interested than ever in the background and story of the wine they drink: who made it, is it organic, biodynamic, etc,” says Doug Paul, owner of Three Sisters Vineyard and Winery in Georgia.

And that includes wine labels. Consumers want to know everything. From the ingredients to the production process, so expect to start seeing more details on that back label.

All these trends are awesome news for us wine drinkers.

So get ready for a great year.


By Tracy Byrnes