One of the questions I’m asked most in my travels is ‘what’s new in wine?’
For many years I would rattle off improvements in active dry yeasts, or bottle closures, and watch as eyes glazed over. Sure there were new brands launching every day, but from the perspective of wine drinkers there wasn’t much real change happening on a visible or consumer-relevant level.
Nowadays, like the list of alerts from my world current affairs app, there’s almost too much major stuff happening to keep up. Below are what I consider to be the important trends in wine right now. Some will endure and shape wine into the future, while others will surely fade or morph – their inclusion a symbol of the changing landscape of wine and wine consumers. There is no argument that the Millennial market (people born between 1981 and 1995, currently 21-35 years old), are the current hot targets for producers and retailers globally. Their spending power and drastically different priorities to former generations, underpin many of the trends below.
The natural wine movement is gaining a foothold in Europe and the US, particularly with Millennial consumers, to whom its ideologies and brand stories are engaging. Natural wine resists being pigeon-holed: There is no universally accepted definition nor a global organization to control standards. However, purists demand that a wine only be called ‘natural’ if it is produced without adding or removing anything in the winemaking process (ironic as there’s nothing natural about the winemaking process). In accordance with this definition true ‘natural wines’ are unstable at bottling because they lack sulphur dioxide (SO2) or other preservatives to kill off any rogue micro-organisms and … Read more >
It’s been a while since I posted: A delicious, lingering stretch free from long-haul travel and it’s accompanying physical and mental fatigue. A blissful down-gearing dedicated to family and friends, domestic chores and beach swims at dusk. Ah, … Read more >
Recently I was privileged to be part of the team that selected the Fine Wines of New Zealand – a new initiative, sponsored by Air NZ, to bring recognition to New Zealand’s most prestigious wines. It was both … Read more >
Outside of Spain there seems to be two main camps when it comes to sherry: those who have been scarred by an early life experience of overly sweet alcohol from Grandma’s tumbler, and those who have never heard … Read more >
You might have seen or read about The Marshmallow Test – where 3 and 4 year olds are given the choice of eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting for 15 minutes for 2 marshmallows (apparently it’s supposed to … Read more >
In 2007 I got bitten by the saké bug and ended up a samurai. To put samurai into context: I’m not referring to the noble warriors of medieval Japan, rather an esteemed title given by the Japan Saké … Read more >
Many people are afraid to give me their opinion about a wine. Uncertainty, insecurity, fear – I know these feelings well. They are my constant companions when I travel around the world; they are there every day when … Read more >
As someone who routinely loses wallets, phones, sunglasses, and has even lost sight of his own (admittedly very small) child on occasion, my wife finds it alternately absurd and ironic that I should choose a wine closure that … Read more >
Late last year I wrote a very personal guest post on top London wine merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd’s blog. It was about the leap I took in starting my own wine label whilst continuing to consult … Read more >