With the year just starting, we’re taking this opportunity to look at the biggest wine trends for 2018. Looking back, 2017 was a dramatic year for the wine industry. Between the wildfires that burned through northern California to the heat wave and drought that plagued much of Europe, 2017 was never easy. But now we look forward to 2018 to see what the latest trends will hold for the wine world. Here, we offer our predictions for the biggest trends in wine that will shape the next year.
Long overshadowed by behemoths like France and Italy, Spain has usually played little brother when it comes to imports into the United States. Despite this, Spain is enjoying a nice period of rediscovery. Spain is the third largest wine producing country in the world with many indigenous varietals and dozens of unique wine regions. Anyone who has gone to Spain or loves Spanish wine knows that Spanish wine offers drinkers numerous choices and supreme quality at extremely affordable prices. This year, plan to see more than just the famous and powerful Tempranillo wines of Rioja and Ribera del Duero on shelves and in restaurants. Expect to see more varietals like Mencía from Bierzo, Godello from Valdeorras, Verdejo from Rueda, and the rock star sparkling wine Cava. With so many different varietals and regions to explore, 2018 will be very promising for all Spanish wines!
Gone are the days of consumers searching for wines from large, well-established vineyards and wineries. Today’s consumers want to know where their wine came from and who made it. We want wines that were grown, picked, and produced with the care and dedication that comes from running a small, family-operated winery. In the past, small producers around the world were virtually blocked from the American wine market due to the inability to produce and finance extremely large volume requirements for distribution. But with the rise in online shopping and the desire for premiumization, tiny family owned estates are about to have their time in the limelight.
Champagne is still king of the sparkling wine world, but a new generation of sparkling wines are looking to take over the throne. Styles like Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, German Sekt, and even French Crémant are done playing second fiddle to Champagne. Cava from Spain is made in the same traditional style as Champagne but is offered at a steep discount compared to its French cousin. Crémant from regions like Alsace and the Loire are also going to be at the forefront of the sparkling wine movement. Consumers have shown they love the creamy and refreshing taste of Crémant wines. Look for sparkling wines of all styles and varietals to be a big feature of 2018.
Buying Wine Online
Move over restaurants and retail, online wine is coming through! While the online wine industry is already large and enjoying healthy growth every year, it still represents just a small fraction of total wine sales in the United States. But 2018 is the year where online wine sales will go through the roof. Specialty wine shops are popping up all over the place with unique niches and a focus on customer experience. Whether it’s a daily deal site or a wine of the month club, online wine ships are the way to go to find the best deals and the largest selections.
Natural, Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic
No matter what kind of wine you prefer, 2018 will be the year where consumers focus on the method of production. Natural, sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines are all the rage now, and this trend is here to stay. The vineyard is an ecosystem and the use of pesticides is on the decline while minimally invasive growing and production techniques are on the rise. Natural wines from Eastern Europe are gaining huge momentum while biodynamic wines are popping up more and more in established winemaking countries like France and Italy. If you’re still confused about what the difference is between all these terms, check out this awesome explanation from Wine Spectator.
A Year to Look Forward to
No matter what trends pop up in 2018, one thing is for sure: this will be a great year for wine! Enjoy new styles of wine while also reminding yourself why the classics never disappear. Stay on the lookout for amazing deals and take a trip if you can!