Wine Trends of 2015

Wine Trends 2015
6/1/2015

The wine industry is predicted to experience a higher growth in the fine wine category, and some interesting shifts in market tastes.

When the Silicon Valley Bank released its Annual State of the Wine Industry report in January, it saw a continued growth in the wine market driven by a strong U.S. Economy. Fine wines, those priced at $20 per bottle and above, are expected to see a rise of of sales ranging from 14 to 18 percent.

Rising Foreign Markets

There’s a big push to bring Millennials to the foreign wine market, resulting in success for wines from Chile, New Zealand, and lately Spain. Spain, and especially its Rioja region, is emerging as a leader in the wine market for the country’s ability to combine the best characteristics with a progressive winemaking philosophy.

The Malbec grape, a French varietal orphaned from the Bordeaux region, has found a vibrant home in Argentina. The South American country produces inexpensive yet delicious Malbecs, but also creates complex, fine wines from this grape grown in high-elevation vineyards.

Southern Italy is also making inroads into American homes, with once ignored viticultural areas such as Campania and Basilicata, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia now on the rise.

Robert M. Parker Jr., the famed wine critic and editor and publisher of The Wine Advocate, looks for the foreign wine market to become even more diverse. In an article for Food & Wine, he predicts quality wines that will attract attention are being produced in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Mexico, China, Japan, Lebanon and Turkey. Parker suggests that even India will soon make its mark in the wine market.

Shifts in California

While California Napa and Sonoma valleys will continue to rule the domestic market, a rising star for winemaking  in that state is California’s Central Coast. “No viticultural region in America has demonstrated as much progress in quality and potential for greatness as the Central Coast,” Parker wrote. He cited region’s Rhône varietals along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir planted in cooler climates near Santa Barbara as impressive wines coming from that region.

Domestic Blends Doing Well

Domestic blends, especially those from California and Washington State, are among the top trending wines in the mid-price range. In a Nielsen report from January 2015, the domestic red-blend category is among the fastest growing in the Country. Brian Lecnhner, Nielsen vice president, group client director for alcoholic beverages, said the growth is driven by drinkers “who are switching to red blends from other types of wines.” Because the blends take some of the bitter edge off tannins, it attracts drinkers who find dry red wines as too harsh to take.

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