It’s a new year! Time to take my crystal Riedel wine glass in hand, gaze deeply into a sensuous and brooding red, and issue my ten predictions for the world of wine in 2014.
1. Wine consumption will continue to grow as Millennial’s maintain their love for the grape, and Gen Xer’s move away from traditional beers, and begin to pair wine with their meals and outings.
2. Wine by the glass sales will grow faster at restaurants and bars, along with other venues like ball games and movie theatres.
3. The most popular price range will drop on wine sold by the bottle. In 2012, the most popular price point was $10 -$14.99 per bottle, according to the Wine Market Council. This year, the $5 to $10 wines will develop a following and become the most popular price point.
4. Look for more restaurants to offer wine-dinner pairing events. Beer dinners are fun, but it's still the die-hard wine drinker who shows up every month for a chance to try various wines paired with several gourmet food courses as part of a one-of-a-kind themed event. Face it; we love the wine, we love the food, we love the heavenly pairings, and we adore the atmosphere at these wine soirees.
5. Wine advertising will target male shoppers more with shelf talkers, table tents and social media ads. Ads will begin to take the mystique out of the wine selection process and start promoting the rewards to arriving for a romantic dinner with a nice bottle of wine. (Men will be rushing to embrace their inner oenophile - and dinner partner.)
6. As wine regions in the south (think Texas) and east (think New York) become more face-forward about what they can craft, consumers will begin opting for these different and interesting choices in lieu of their usual (think California) brands of wines.
7. Merlot will be king of the reds again, at least for Boomers and Millennials, while Malbec will become a go-to for Gen Xer’s. Chardonnay will still hold the heart (and taste buds) of Boomers, but Pinot Grigio will make adequate leaps into the breach. Millennials and Gen Xer’s will continue to embrace all forms of Moscoto, and dessert wines will come on strong.
8. New wine influencers are stepping up. While sommeliers still hold sway, social media is leveling the wine recommendation playing field. People feel more confident to buy and try what they want – and are stepping away from purchasing their wines for home based on a wine critic’s or sommelier’s recommendation.
9. Wine racks are standard in most new homes; wine bars are on the rise, but I think homeowners will want more than the standard wine fridge in 2014. How about building a wine cellar or wine cave in the basement? Or you might think about adding a home wine cruvinet system to that wine bar. In 2014, happy hour at home has never been easier, or classier.
10. Wine-centric vacations will be on the rise as wine drinkers look for more fun and interesting ways to spend a weekend or a week’s vacation pursuing their wine passion. With wine river cruises, wine trails, and chauffeured wine tours available, there’s no reason not to become more friendly with your local, state, or regional wineries.
So, there you have it, my ten wine predictions for the year. Now, for that glass of Merlot, a toasty fire, and a sincere wish for a happy and healthy 2014! Salute’!