We hope you all had a great Christmas and wish you success and happiness in the New Year. As we make our way through January, our expert team at Winebuyers have been taking a closer look at the wine and spirits trends we are likely to see over the next 12 months. Here’s what we’ve found:
1) Interest in vegan wines is growing
A decade ago, most people didn’t know that there was such a thing as a vegan wine. It’s certainly an area that has been transformed in more recent years, with more people becoming health conscious and the impact of eating meat and animal products on the environment. You might ask why would wine not be vegan? A process called ‘fining’ makes wine clear and taste less bitter. Some wines are ‘fined’ using products of animal origin, usually egg whites, fish proteins or milk proteins meaning the wine is not suitable for vegans. These days, a lot of winemakers use a clay-based finer called bentonite or products based on vegetable such as peas and potatoes. These don't affect the taste and get the job done just as well. Of course, the growing number of people who follow the vegan lifestyle also want to be able to enjoy a nice bottle of vegan wine, whether it’s a sparkling crisp white or a full-bodied red. The good news is that we currently have over 700 different vegan wines that you can explore on Winebuyers.
2) Alternative packaging is becoming more mainstream
It may send a chill down the spine of some wine enthusiasts but how wine is packaged is also changing. The traditional glass bottle isn’t the only product appearing on the market nowadays. Wine in a can? Yes, it is a thing. Producers are looking at different ways of appealing to different customers – cans are not only easy to recycle, they are more portable and open with a ring pull. It’s also a good way to keep sparkling wine fizzy if you don’t want to drink the entire bottle in one go. Our 24 can sparkling white wine party slab is proving a popular choice amongst fans of fizz. Not only is bag-in-box wine a wallet-friendly necessity for summer barbecues and parties, but it often comes with an eco-friendly packaging that is recyclable and cheaper to transport.
3) A clear taste for indigenous grapes
Our taste in wine is becoming a lot more sophisticated. People are willing to drink less and spend more. We want to learn about what we are drinking and that’s also leading us to experiment. While the traditional Chardonnay is still a staple of many dinner tables, the trend for 2019 will be to explore less well-known, indigenous varieties that don’t necessarily make the winemaking headlines. A few worth mentioning are the Sémillon from Bordeaux, Nero d’Avolas and Fiano's from Italy, the Pais from Chile or a deliciously dark Bonarda from Argentina.
4) The rise of Central and Eastern European wines
Wine production in Eastern European countries has improved dramatically over the last two decades since the Soviet Union collapsed. While Hungary was under the spotlight in 2018, it is Croatia’s turn for 2019. To date, we haven’t seen too many different wines from the country here in the UK but that is really set to change over the next 12 months or so. Its proximity to Italy underlies the fact that this has the potential to become a really vibrant wine growing region.
5) Serious challengers for Champagne
The UK sparkling wine market is producing some great quality, variety and at a really good price. Nyetimber 1086, a premium sparkling wine which is more than holding its own on the market, is a proof of the English sparkling's excellence. Crémant wine, a group of sparkling wines produced with the same technique as Champagne but produced outside the region in France, has also increased in popularity. Grapes must be harvested by hand and have a minimum of nine months lees ageing. You can expect to find the quality of Champagne with a reduced price of around 50%.
6) The gin boom set to continue
Finally, whether you take it with tonic or prefer a pink gin or two to wind down in the evening, the world of gin making has a lot to offer at the moment. There were no less than 315 distilleries in the UK in 2018, the industry doubling in size over the last five years. The pink gin category has been particularly popular and should continue to attract plenty of attention over the next 12 months. The future means more quirky looking and different flavoured bottles – that’s because gin can be made with a range of different botanicals and essences that make the combinations almost endless. At Winebuyers, we’re keeping up with the latest trends and changes in the wine industry over the next year so keep an eye out for regular updates and news. With over 27,000 different wines from 38 countries, there’s always going to be something new and exciting to discover. We'll drink to that.