We examine the trends to know in the world of wine, from alternative ageing to low alcohol alternatives. Read our guide to 2019’s biggest wine trends for the year…
Fine Wine Collecting in 2019
Simon Staples, Fine Wine Sales Director, shares his predictions for what the collectors will be buying this year…
- The top wines from Burgundy and Barolo are selling at crazy prices and there is virtually no supply. Consumers will move to California, Oregon and Central Otago Pinots to get their “Pinotphile” style fix.
- English Sparkling Wine will ramp up to the next level and the will start selling by the case rather than the curio single bottle. Led by the mighty and majestic Nyetimber, the quality of our home- grown sparkling wines cannot be held-back.
- Spain (especially the wines from Ribera del Duero and Toro) and South African reds will continue to sell well as customers see the amazing value of fine wine from these regions.
Thanks to the experts at Berry Bros. & Rudd…
Beaujolais has had a great year – at Berry Bros. & Rudd there has been an increase in sales of 130 per cent (value) 137 per cent (volume) – and its star is still rising. Will Heslop, Buying Assistant says, “Beaujolais fits the bill for people looking to move away from fuller-bodied red wines. It’s versatile and can be enjoyed throughout the year, chilled during the summer months and then into the cooler autumn and winter months accompanied with a hearty casserole. Beaujolais doesn’t need to be seasonal – people are discovering its versatility. On top of this, there is a huge amount of exciting and innovative winemaking going on in Beaujolais. What was perhaps once considered a bit of a backwater, only producing low-quality wines for immediate consumption, is now heralded as producing some impressive yet accessible wines. There is still so much more to come from Beaujolais.”
England home grown talent
It might not be new news that people are drinking home-grown, but the rate of growth in English wine is impressive. “With new additions to our portfolio such as Flint Vineyards, customers are really getting behind our home-grown wine industry,” says Katherine Dart MW, Wine Buyer. In 2018, Berry Bros. & Rudd have seen an increase in value of 157 per cent and 264 per cent in terms of volume.
Bordeaux – grand plans from the petite chateaux
Conversations about Claret have long been dominated by big, blue-chip brands, but this is set to change in 2019. “We’ll see a move towards the better-value end of the spectrum, as people rediscover the drinkability of wines from Bordeaux,” comments Oli Barton, Wine Buyer. “With around 7,000 producers, there’s a younger generation of winemakers looking to innovate and move away from the more classic style associated with Bordeaux. Producers are creating more approachable, fruit forward-wines that are slightly less tannic. This coincides with a trend towards making better quality wines in some of the lesser appellations. Increasing numbers of producers are declassifying their fruit, so they don’t have to stick to the strict regulations imposed on them and can make wines the way they want to.”
Greece – wine lovers discover Crete
Over the past year Berry Bros. & Rudd has experienced huge growth in its Greek wine range with value up 100 per cent year on year and volume over 173 per cent. This growth is predominantly led by Crete- based winery Lyrarakis. Agency Manager Lenka Sedlackova MW says, “Lyrarakis has been producing high-quality wines since 1966 with a strong focus on rare local varieties – including the likes of Thrapsathiri, Plytó and Dafni. As consumers become increasingly inquisitive and adventurous about the wines they are drinking, these rare grape varieties from Crete are of growing interest. The Greek wine revival is only set to continue in 2019.”
Berry Bros. & Rudd is excited about the direction for wines from North America: over the past year, they have seen an increase in sales of 41 per cent (value) and 244 per cent in terms of volume. “We are really seeing good growth in sales for wines from the USA, in spite of the fact that the exchange rate hasn’t been favourable, and the price points of the wines are generally higher than other regions” says Fiona Hayes, Wine Buyer. “I think this is partly down to the investment that the growers and the generic body are putting in to grow export markets.
“Importers and retailers are also placing more emphasis on US wines, they are viewed as much more accessible than other regions that may seem intimidating and unobtainable in terms of price and allocation. The younger generation are starting to build up their own wine brands, which is appealing to a new audience, and there are still plenty of producers making wines in small quantities or in relatively unknown and emerging regions that aren’t exporting their wines yet, so it’s incredibly exciting and has so much potential.”
Considered winemaking practices
“We are in an age of conscious consumption, and now more than ever before this includes wine,” comments Wine Director Mark Pardoe MW. “Customers are seeking out responsible winemakers who work in an environmentally conscious, sustainable way. For the consumer, knowing which questions to ask, however, remains tricky with continued confusion surrounding terms such as low intervention, natural, sustainable, biodynamic and organic. We predict that 2019 will be the year the industry moves to address this, making it easier for consumers to know what they’re buying.”
Experiental – the thirst for knowledge
“Educational courses, events and experiences are more in demand than ever as people want to know more about what they’re drinking. They want to understand their personal taste – why they love (or hate) particular wines and spirits, and they also want to go beyond the bottle to discover the story behind what they are drinking” says Barbara Drew MW, Wine & Spirits Education Specialist. In 2018, Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Events and Education team saw a 10 per cent rise in the number of people attending dinners, wine school events and winemaker tastings. More than 30,000 people came to an event in the historic St James’s cellars in 2018. “We predict this is a trend that’s set to continue,” adds Barbara, “especially amongst those just starting on their journey of discovery.”
“Winemaking practices have almost gone full circle,” says Oli Barton, Wine Buyer. “As well as winemakers returning to more natural, lower intervention practices in the vineyard, the ageing process in the winery is also seeing a move back to more inert vessels such as amphora. This isn’t just New-World producers such as De Martino, in Bordeaux we are seeing the trend toward juicier, younger reds with less oak for drinking now. At Berry Bros. & Rudd we are introducing a few new wines to the range which have been aged in amphora and we are looking forward to hearing the feedback from our customers.”
Sales of sparkling wines are up 29 per cent (volume) compared to the same 12-month period last year. As well as Crémant, customers are opting for English Sparkling Wine and fashionable Pet Nats.
It might not be a new trend, but rosé’s set to stay. Sales of rosé increased 14 per cent over the past year at Berry Bros. & Rudd – and they’re predicting even more growth in the coming year. “While it is predominantly the paler styles of wine that are seeing the fastest growth, Provence Rosé is now as familiar to consumers as other popular wine styles including for instance, Prosecco and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,” says Davy Źyw, Wine Buyer. He predicts 2019 will continue to see the rising demand for Provence Rosé with increasingly popular large-format bottles adorning alfresco dining tables and picnic blankets. Growing numbers of copycat styles from the New-World as well as impersonations from other Old-World countries will continue to appear on shelves.
“In the past, “own-label” wines may have been seen as an uninteresting option – our customers disagree” says Will Wrightson, Team Leader at Berry Bros. & Rudd’s London shop at 63 Pall Mall. “Over the past year, Berry Bros. & Rudd has seen growth in sales of its Own Selection wines of 15 per cent as customers look for benchmark examples of wines which they can depend on. Good Ordinary Claret remains the company’s best-selling (and arguably best- value) wine. With exciting additions planned for the range in 2019, we predict significant growth in the own-label category.”
Low/No Alcohol Alternatives
“A quarter of young adults are teetotal and following from the success of quality alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip, we can expect to see continued growth in this category,” says Johnny Roberts, Commercial Director. In the coming year, expect to see more non-alcohol options on the market and more non-alcoholic cocktails.