Super Early Bird Ends
December 10, 2020
April 23, 2021
2021 Judging Date
May 16, 2021
According to a 2018 study of the habits of American wine consumers, most of the people drink wine simply because they like it— 79% of respondents put taste as their top reason for taking a sip and 80% said that price is the main factor to consider when purchasing wine. So, the question is which wine trends will hit the charts in 2019?
Sales of Riesling wines have been trending down the last few years, however stronger U.S. dollar and larger crops will bring pricing slightly down making the top level German estate Rieslings more affordable. The wines are food-friendly and age-worthy not to bounce back and rise in sales.
In 2019, expect to hear more about balance in wine consumption and the concept of wine as part of a meal, rather than as a cocktail. There is also a growing interest in low-alcohol wine options.
Technology will continue to make shopping for wine interesting and easy. There will be a rising popularity of virtual labels and more options for buying wine without leaving home. Increased reliance on online wine shopping, the emergence of wine delivery services and grocery stores dropping of orders of food and wine, indicates the potential for growth in the aspect of wine retail.
Hunting down sparkling wine from new places will be there. Bubbles from Chile, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil will provide a range of high-quality, yet affordable, sparkling wines to expand the category. The future looks bright for American sparkling wine producers, with more custom crush facilities opening up the possibility for small-production, craft-style sparkling wines. People, who historically weren't in the sparkling wine business, will embrace bubbles.
The more tannic a wine, the better it will age: think Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux style blends. On the white frontier, wooded Chenins and Chardonnays can go the extra mile—and Sauvignon Blanc often develops beautifully in the bottle—as long as it didn’t start out as plonk. As the wine drinking public matures, so does their taste in wine and hence the older wines they will start seeking out.
The appetite for fruit-driven, lighter-style reds shows no sign of fading. These wines can come in the form of blends or as single varietals: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Carignan are the varieties to look for on the shelves. These wines are generally full of red fruit, often have a floral scent.
Orange Wines now earn a place on wine lists. This has been happening for a while, and it’s rightfully earned. These wines are now as distinctive as rosé or red.
Wine drinkers are showing more and more interest in exploring lesser-known varietals. Diversity and competition are opening the doors to otherwise unknown regions, and Greek, Austrian, Slovenian, Slovak and Portuguese wines will be some of the satisfiers for our ‘desire for something new.’
Parent to Cabernet Sauvignon along with Sauvignon Blanc, this one is growing exponentially. Bottlings of Cabernet Franc has grown from only 17 in 2005 to over 150 today. Cabernet Franc has the ability to give you three distinct sets of aromas on the nose: fruit, spice and herbaceousness. On the palate, it has a linear structure with silky, soft tannins at the end. It maintains its minerality and freshness. Where Cabernet Sauvignon is a broad-sword, Cabernet Franc is a scalpel that delivers its flavours with great precision.
Elgin, Walker Bay, the Hemel-en-Aarde, and Elim can all be classified as ‘cool-climate’ wine growing regions, compared to areas such as Stellenbosch and the Swartland. The cooler the climate, the longer the growing period. In these regions, winemakers harvest in autumn, and this period of growth means the grape cluster stays connected to its roots for longer, giving better-balanced wines, an accumulation of more aroma and flavour constituents, and the retention of higher acidity. Combined with the terroir, the resultant wines display delicacy, power, insistence and a sense of place.
Vegan wines will be another key trend in 2019, thanks to the increasing popularity of vegan food and restaurants. Animal by-products derived from milk, eggs, fish as well as gelatine are often used in a part of the winemaking process to fine and clarify the wine before bottling. Wines that are fined with bentonite (a type of clay) are vegan-friendly as are wines that are unfined and unfiltered (unless they’re biodynamic wines, as animal bones are used in compost mixtures of the vineyards).
More recently, Sherry has begun popping up in cocktails at bars and restaurants with alarming frequency – every bartender include Sherry in at least one of their cocktails, with finos and manzanillas adding a welcome sea-air tang to apéritifs & amontillados & olorosos giving more decadent mixed drinks an appealing nuttiness.
The “edibles” category of cannabis is expected to become legal in 2019, and a number of companies, are looking at how to incorporate cannabis into cocktails. Allowing some space for the production of legal cannabis into the industry is crucial. As the drug sheds the social stigma, experts in the cannabis field are being more prominent and crossing paths with wine. Be part of the New Cannabis Drinks category.
In the United States, the future is no longer about emerging wine regions, but rather about evolution (growing up) in established wine regions, as young vintners discover old vineyards, forgotten varieties, and rediscover old ways of making wine. Eventually, they find points in common with some of those who've been growing wine for many decades. 2019 may be the year that wine appreciation involves a look back at the way things used to be done, embracing the past.
Oversupply of rosé - too much rosé out there; too much is getting made in California. Demand is increasing, but not at the rate of production. 2019 will be the year of more site-specific, variety-focused rosé like bottles from places such as Australia, Portugal and Argentina. French rosé from regions outside of Provence will provide lovely and affordable bottles this year, especially versions from Languedoc, Loire, Rhône Valley, Gascony and Bordeaux.
are now being sought out, and the two countries, Spain and Portugal, produce some of the world's finest—and they produce them very differently, for that matter. While Spain is capitalizing on international varietals being delivered with ridiculous value, Portugal is staying true to its native varieties. Either way, both countries are making incredibly valued full-bodied wines that are great alternatives to similar New World versions.
Hybrid wine grapes - bred varieties that cross vinifera (European grapevines) with other grape species - have long been a sensible solution to making wine in difficult conditions. They’re also second-class citizens in the wine world, often lacking the quality of more fancy vinifera. But that’s rapidly changing. In a low-key way, this is the biggest thing in years to happen for local wine communities outside of the well-known U.S. wine regions, merging the pragmatism of cold-weather grapes with the birth of a new cool. Expect to see even more good examples appear this year.