8 Wine Trends To Watch in 2012 by Liz Palmer

Since the plunge in world markets, the wine market has not only bounced back, but is on a steady uphill rise. The market in fine wines has become reliable and with such potential for growth that no respectable financial portfolio should be without a select stock of first growth Bordeaux. Along with an increased awareness of fine wines for investment purposes, here are some further trends that seem to be gaining strength:

1.      Local Wines – The movement to reduce carbon emissions and consume locally grown products has extended to the wine industry in the past few years and this will continue to grow.

2.      Less is More – New world wines with overripe grapes and high alcohol contents have lost their popularity and will be replaced by classic, elegant wines with less alcohol levels (below 13 or 14%). This style marks the return to the tradition of flavorful, balanced wines. There will also be less wood flavors with more clear fruit forward wines.

3.      Retailers Resurgent – Employees have never been more knowledgeable and have become less snobby.  There will be more in-store tastings with a culture of service becoming more important.

4.      Burgundy is the New Bordeaux – As prices for Bordeaux continue to rise, more wine lovers are choosing wines from Burgundy. This is evidenced at some recent New York and Hong Kong wine auctions.

 5.   Sustainable Wines – The desire to make more natural wines, from organic or biodynamic vineyards with minimal intervention, including the addition of chemicals, is gaining more recognition.

New Zealand is set on becoming the first country with a fully sustainable wine industry by 2013, with many of the country’s big winemakers already producing organic wines. Expect this trend to continue growing in the coming years.

6.  Value – Although we seem to be out of the worst of the recession, we are looking for good mid-priced wines that offer great value for the price. Wines from the regions of South America, Australia, and Spain offer such value without the high price tag.

7.    Bends –  There is some truth to the power of blending to build better wine.  This is true for both whites and reds. It is worth watching the renewed market power of non-varietal wines. The average consumer is more willing to buy wine without it being marked chardonnay or merlot – this is a crucial shift.  We’ve transcended our neuroses about blended wines — insecurities that grew out of pre-1980s fondness for things like hearty burgundy. It also means that we won’t be intimidated to try wines from elsewhere in the world that doesn’t proclaim varietal identity on the label.

8.    Artisan Wine – Artisan wine trend gains momentum on either continent. You will find more of these wines on the shelf and wine lists.  This trend shows no signs of slowing down.


Liz Palmer