Wine trends 2022 and beyond
With another chaotic year under our belts, it is time to polish the crystal ball and consider the wine trends heading our way in 2022 and beyond
New regions, new varieties
Buyers, retailers, restaurateurs and consumers are increasingly seeking out new and under-the-radar wines to drink. Partly this has been driven by the increasing unaffordability of many high end wines in addition to ‘the classics’ (think Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne), and partly it’s due to incoming millennial drinkers, who as well as shaking up things via natural wine and alternative packaging, are not especially interested in adhering to traditional wine-drinking norms. Suddenly, wines from places such as the Canary Isles, Corsica, forgotten regions in Spain and Greece or hip new areas of California are popping up on retailer shelves and wine lists all over the place. Supply chain pressure is also a contributing factor – the unavailability of the usual suspects opens up opportunity for new labels to jump in and establish footings. That these wines often come with compelling stories, great senses of place and sustainability bona fides is an added bonus for curious wine drinkers.
Sparkling wine styles broaden
It wasn’t that long ago you drank Champagne when you could afford it, or a local lookalike when you couldn’t, and that was pretty much it. Well, maybe the odd person who was reliving an overseas holiday might have asked for Cava or Prosecco but good luck finding those. Fast forward twenty years and Cava and Prosecco are now mainstream, previously ultra-conservative Champagne is groaning with hipster ‘grower’ labels alongside the traditional luxe houses, France’s Crémant styles are undergoing a resurgence and funkily-labelled Pet Nats (pétillant-naturel) are everywhere. It’s a much more exciting picture and truer representation of the diverse nature of sparkling wine styles.
Natural wine continues to rise
Spotted something cloudy in your glass lately? No longer is this cause to summon the waiter, for the ‘natural’ wine counterculture is going increasingly mainstream. Natural wine is wine made from organic grapes in a very low intervention and typically less protective manner than ‘conventional’ wine – proponents like to say, “nothing is added and nothing is taken away. This covers skin-contact and ‘orange’ wines as well as low- or no-sulphur wines. Consumer curiosity and confidence is growing in this category and they are no longer only found in niche wine bars or retailers, instead they are gathering up a new demographic of people who may not previously have considered themselves wine drinkers. In the manner that the craft beer movement changed that category, natural wine has been shaking up the broader wine category.
Low and no-alcohol wines
The past few years have seen an increasing range of non-alcoholic options on offer across all categories and wine is very much on the bandwagon. Increasingly health-conscious consumers, keen to reduce their consumption of alcohol whilst retaining the sense of occasion as well as social and cultural rituals that accompany wine drinking, are driving the increase in range available and demanding improvements in taste and quality. Low and no-alcohol wines are a growth market, with consumption expected to increase 30% by 2024. Improved de-alcoholization methods are helping improve the quality and there are an increasing number of high profile wineries adding these wines to their ranges.
Supply chain woes and sustainability
It’s not news to anyone anywhere that supply chain challenges are the serious challenge of 2022. Be they from shipping delays, vineyard frosts or fires, or labour shortages this has brought headaches and frustration to importers and distributors everywhere, with gaps on shelves and ever-increasing prices the end result. But the silver lining in this case has been increasing support for smaller, local producers who may previously have struggled to get a foot in the door, and in turn further momentum for sustainability – shorter supply chains and lower carbon footprints go hand-in-hand. Consumers have for some time been questioning from where and how their food is being grown and are increasingly asking the same questions of their wines, and they’re increasingly choosing to buy from food and wine suppliers that share their own values.
Still on the radar from 2021
- organic wine
- rosé and sparkling wines
- alternative packaging
- hard seltzers and more
2023 and beyond
- chillable reds on the rise
- non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for wine investment
- fruit/floral-infused wines