With the beginning of a new year, a look forward to trends in wine.
► The move toward screw cap closures on wine bottles continues. Today, up to one-third of wine bottle closures are screw cap. In New Zealand, the figure is 90 percent; in Australia, 70 percent. The era of associating screw caps with cheap “bum wine” is over. Convenience and cork taint avoidance make a compelling case.
► The era of alternative containers is here. Bag-in-a-box wine grows in quality. Wine in cans makes sense around a swimming pool, on a picnic, in a boat. Wine also now comes in cartons similar to juice boxes and in special plastic bottles, typically in a smaller size than standard 750 ml. All four solutions are safer than glass in various situations. All are more environmentally friendly because of lighter weight and ease of recycling. They also offer advantages when you do not want to consume an entire bottle of wine.
► Direct-to-consumer wine sales grew exponentially, fueled by COVID fears. That genie is out of the bottle, powered by convenience, safety, and choice. No turning back in 2022.
► The same is true for wine-to-go at restaurants. If you order a meal to go, many states admirably came to their senses to allow you to pair wine with the meal. With 30-40% of restaurant revenue coming from wine sales during the pandemic, wine-to-go is not going away. This also fuels sales of alternative container wine.
► Sparkling wine — particularly prosecco — and rosé wines continue to grow in popularity, their growth rate significantly outstripping the growth rate for wine sales in general. Sparkling sales sparkle, rosé sales rise.
► “Organic wine” continues explosive growth. Although an imprecise term, it generally means no use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Depending upon each country’s rules, organic wine producers may or may not use limited amounts of sulfites as a preservative in the winery. When consumers focus on healthy foods, “organic” becomes a magic selling point.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2021: Straightforward wine with an emphasis on freshness and bright red fruits. $10-13
Bending Branch Winery Newsom Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas High Plains 2016: Exemplar of how Texas makes serious wine, worthy of consideration for anyone’s cellar. $30-32
Last round: Hard work may pay off in the future; laziness pays off right now. Think about as you sip wine and put off that task you have avoided the past week.
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This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Gus Clemens: What's with wine in 2022?