Easton, Md., December 15, 2011 — As we wind down the remaining days of 2011 it is interesting to look back and reflect on the year of wine. Here are my thoughts on the Top Ten Wine Trends of 2011.
- South America Rules! So many wine drinkers are looking for value priced wines under $20 and South America was there to deliver. Malbecs from Argentina continue to grow in popularity but Chile’s Carmenère is also making great strides. Red aren’t the only stars here look for the unique Torrontes based whites from Argentina or the elegant Sauvignon Blancs of Chile. Look for more and more wines to surface from lesser known wine regions like Peru and Brazil.
- Wine Delivered to Your Door. Maryland just joined 37 other states in allowing shipments to consumers direct from wineries. This is definitely a step in the right direction allowing MD wineries to ship to other states and out of state wineries to ship to MD. Sadly shipments are not permitted to and from wine retailers so there is still more work to be done. Learn more abou tthis issue at www.freethegrapes.com
- Desperately Seeking Natural Wines. Consumers are increasingly looking for wines that are made with the least amount processing as possible. The old stereotype that organic wines won’t taste great is disappearing and there is a great thirst for organic, biodynamic and sustainable winemaking.
- Think and Drink Local. More and more consumers are turning to local wineries to experience what once was only found in California. Local wineries in every state give consumers the chance to tour, taste and experience wine without hopping a plane. Every state in the union has a winery including Alaska—think ice wine.
- Celebrity Crush. More and more celebrities are bitten by the wine bug every year. This year some notable additions include purchases of wineries in Virginia. Donald Trump who purchased the bankrupt Kluge winery and Steve Case co-founder of AOL who bought Sweely Estate Winery. Actor Stanley Tucci also launched a TV show called Vine Talk where celebrities sit around a table drinking and talking about wine. Will this celebrity wine invasion continue? Time will tell.
- Thinking Outside the Bottle. Consumers are more and more comfortable with alternative packaging like the dreaded box. Premium boxes like Bota Box, Blanc Box and Big House are giving consumers a tastier option in box wine. Tetra Pak Cartons, Wine Tubes, Plastic bottles and pouches are also a trend. At this year’s Aspen Food & Wine Festival the American Plastics Council featured some of these products.
- Oddballs Rule. Consumers are drinking more off beat varietals like Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Gruner Veltliner and Albarino as they look to expand their horizons and stretch their wine budgets. Chardonnay and Cabernet are still strong but the Millennial (twenty something’s), Gen X and some adventurous Boomer consumers are more willing to give new varietals a try.
- Grape Technology. Apps, Blogs and wine websites are increasingly giving consumers a place to turn for information on wine. These forums along with social media are a great alternative from the traditional media perspective found in the wine magazines and from wine critics. If your friend in Oregon likes a certain Pinot Noir that might give you more of an idea on how it tastes then the traditional tasting notes and ratings that have ruled in the past.
- Women in Wine. Women consume the majority of the wine in this country but have made up a smaller role in the wine industry. This continues to change with more and more women entering the industry and achieved either the Master Sommelier or Master of Wine ranks. Women wine makers are found all over the world and craft some of the most highly decorated and priced on the market.
- Table Wine. Wine is increasingly a normal part of the dinner experience in America. People in general know that in moderation red wine has heart health benefits and are incorporating it onto the dinner table. As more and more people experience and understand food and wine pairing this can only continue to trend upwards. Consumers that have travelled to Europe see firsthand how successfully wine can be part of the recipe of your meal.
Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®, is a wine educator, author of the award-winning book The Sipping Point and host of a weekly radio show by the same name on WBAL 1090AM. Her specialty is delivering wine edu-tainment for corporate events, group tastings and team-building seminars.
Laurie is also a sought after guest expert on radio shows across the country, including Martha Stewart Radio. You can reach her on twitter @thewinecoach or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/winecoach.
Read more of Laurie’s work at The Sipping Point in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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