There has never been a more exciting time for wine. Three of the industry’s leading experts uncork the latest trends they’re seeing — from the vine to the glass.
Rosé is not going away — and it’s not just for summer
Michael Warner, co-founder and chief operating officer at
DCanter Wine, expected to see rosé’s popularity peak, but the opposite has happened.
“More and more consumers are getting into rosé, and it’s not really going away,” he said. Diane Gross, owner and wine director at
One reason for its following? Gross says rosé resonates with the masses. It’s fuller than a white, but lighter than a red, making it easy to drink.
And there’s good news for fans: Rosé is no longer considered just a summer wine.
Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market is seeing a similar progression. “People are just devouring it at record speeds,” she said. “It kind of works with everything.”
(AP/Matthew Mead) “I’d say if there is a trend, it’s that the growth is shifting away from just the summer months, and rosé will take on more of a year-round appeal,” Warner said.
Lighter reds are in
Gross says it’s rare to have a customer come in and ask for a California cabernet these days. Modern drinkers are all about lighter-body reds, such as b
eaujolais, barbera and mencia. ASSOCIATED PRESS/Dave Kolpack) “Things that have a lot of cherry and cranberry and earthy notes, and have a lot of distinction, but not fruit-forward,” Gross said.
ASSOCIATED PRESS/Dave Kolpack
High praise for low-alcohol wines
In addition to seeking out light-body wines, consumers are also interested in wines with lower levels of alcohol.
Winemakers in cooler climates, particularly in Europe, are driving this trend, as are “young, hip” winemakers in California, who are part of the movement “The days of those big, powerful fruit bombs with alcohol levels that match are numbered, as younger drinkers seek out more balanced wine,” Warner said. In Pursuit of Balance, Warner explains.
Getty Images/Carlos Barrios) “That’s going for more nuanced wines that are a little higher in acidity, a little lower in alcohol and a little more complex with their flavor profile.”
Getty Images/Carlos Barrios
Small production is big
The big brands have their place in the industry, but today’s wine consumers are on the hunt for smaller makers.
In Italy, smaller wineries in Sicily “People are seeking out more boutique, smaller production,” said Cork’s Gross. “More people are talking about how wine is made; they want something more traditional, more reflective of the varietal.” AP/LISA BILLINGS) are gaining momentum. In Spain, winemakers in Montsant, Monterey and Conca de Barberà are making a name for themselves.
Beyond Bordeaux: Emerging wine regions
Bordeaux and Napa Valley are no longer the dominant wine regions. These days, reputable wines are being made all over the U.S. — and the world.
Warner says New York is one state that has been making wine for a while and is now seeing the benefits.
“Their cabernet francs and their rieslings are really coming into their own, and they’re gaining a lot of acceptance,” he said.
Virginia is another state to watch. He says some of the wineries that are reaching 10- and 15-year anniversaries in the Commonwealth have figured out their AP/Michael Felberbaum) terroir and what works on their properties.
Warmer whites, cooler reds
Chances are, you’re drinking your whites too cold and your reds too warm.
Jason Dodge, director of winemaking at Robert Mondavi Private Selection says if you’re drinking white, take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving it.
And if you’re pouring red, put it in the fridge 30 minutes ahead of time to reach what the experts call “cellar temperature.”
(Getty Images/Alan Crowhurst)
Getty Images/Alan Crowhurst
New ways to age
This summer, Robert Mondavi celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Dodge says he’s looking forward and thinking of ways to take its wines to the next level. One way he’s doing this is by aging the famed Napa Valley winery’s cabernet in bourbon barrels.
“It’s really just about the flavor and the aromatic nuances that come from the barrel,” Dodge said.
(AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy) “If you think about bourbon, it’s kind of dark and it’s kind of spicy and it has a hint of smoke, and lots of caramels and vanillas. Well it’s doing the same thing in the wine,” he said.
AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy
The phrase “natural” is big right now in the wine world, but Warner and Gross say that buzzword means different things to different people.
Warner explains there’s no legal definition of “natural” wine, “What that means for me is that people are making wine traditionally. They’re not adding things, they’re not manipulating the wine; they’re sort of letting the grape make the wine,” Gross said.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) “But we are definitely seeing a lot of consumers asking questions about where the wines are made, how they’re made, looking for wines that come from vineyards that have been organically or biodynamically farmed.”
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Get more for less
There’s no need to drop a lot of money. These days, $10, $15 and $20 is all it takes to get a great bottle. Warner credits this to the advances in wine education.
“We’re just seeing the benefits of really great university systems investing in wine technology and wine knowledge,” he said. AP/Mal Fairclough) “There’s a lot of understanding of how grapes grow and how wine is made, blending techniques, so I think there are a lot more winemakers who are equipped with the knowledge and the tools to make some really great wine at affordable prices.”
Personalizing the palate
Warner says the millennial generation is not satisfied with walking into a store and making a selection from hundreds of bottles. Instead, customers want store owners who can personalize selections to their palates. In recent years, wine clubs and boutique shops have catered to this demand.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Whether it’s poured from a can, box or a bottle, one thing is for sure: Americans are consuming more wine than ever before.
In 1960, the U.S. drank a total of 163 million gallons of wine. By 2015, that number jumped to 913 million gallons .
Most are enjoying their pinot alongside a plate of cheese or a slice of pizza, but wine is succeeding in sectors beyond the food and beverage industry. With more than 8,300 wineries scattered throughout the U.S., it’s making significant contributions to tourism and agriculture.
The world of wine is constantly evolving and innovating — after all, it has been around for thousands of years — and there has never been a more exciting time than now. Three of the industry’s leading experts uncork the latest trends they’re seeing — from the vine to the glass.
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