2021 Uncrated – Trends in Wine

Imagination may be creative, but forecasts clarify the image (1), (2)

I think and I hope that each and every one of us is looking forward to what the coming year, 2021, holds for us for trends in wine.  In this special issue we are peering into the crystal ball for glimpses of the future wine world.  I have included plenty of references to some very well-informed authorities on their subjects who present their views to the question, “Where is the wine industry headed”.  Clearly, we’re all looking for some relief from the strain that COVID placed us under and hoping that 2021 will initiate a rapid return to normalcy, albeit a slightly changed wine world as many aftermaths are.

Why do we like to hear the future foretold?  Business is one practical reason.  Heavy investments in equipment, staff, inventory, and other resources means having a decent handle on direction, destination, and potential obstacles.  Last December the FTC approved Gallo’s acquisition of 30 brands from Constellation.  You can be sure that both did their homework and likely acquired data from some of the sources that you’ll find below.  Another attraction of forecasts is curiosity.  We enjoy saying “Did you know…?” and then playing oracle by passing on the news.

The world of the 2021 Wine Trend Forecast

One final note on “why forecasts”, and it’s almost a contradiction.  No one wants to know all that will unfold.  The lack of surprises would point to boredom.  Of course, knowing every turn in the road would also generate the paradoxes of a SCI-FI film.

Last year in February I was attending a large trade wine tasting event where I encountered a Chinese importer that I often see there.  He held out his business card as always, even though I had it from the years before.  I reached for the card but then stopped, remembering having heard whisperings about a virus in China.  I inquired, “You haven’t been exposed to that virus, have you?  “Oh no!” he replied, “I don’t live near that place.”  Relieved, I accepted his card.  Little did either of us know that there was literally nowhere to hide.  The monster knew no bounds, and the world was about to be flipped on its head.

In this special edition we are taking a look at the evolution and progress in the wine industry going forward into and throughout 2021.  You will find forecasts made by several authorities.

Scope of Coverage
• Wines and varietals gaining favor
• Wine seltzer, wine variants, natural wines
• Occasions and usage
• Commerce of wine – access online, virtual tastings, enhanced
delivery speed, volumes down, unit price up, base relationships,
slow sending, glut spawns buyouts
• Infrastructure – adventures in  packaging
• Adjacent dimensions – health, sustainability, tourism recovery
• Appellations – Portugal rising

To that above I’ll add my own conjecture.  Specifically, that of the grape varietals that were never known to have been fermented, or that were discarded in the corridors of history, the number that will be discovered or revived in 2021 will exceed that number for 2020.  At least I hope so because we don’t know what we are missing, and I suspect we will like it if we try it, at least some of it.

Of the forecasters who provide their expert opinions that I present I sought two attributes.  The first was obviously authority on the subject.  The second was healthy diversity of viewpoints between presenters. I mean Diversity in their context of presenting the subject, in the purpose of their organization, in their background and experience, and in the reason for their forecast.  Not that this diversity will lead to any kind of clashes, virtual or real.  But the diversity hopefully brings a greater, more complex understanding of each topic.  Clearly, several authorities may discourse on the same event looming in our wine future, each predicting somewhat different outcomes or with unlike emphasis.  So, select your scion and find your future while enjoying the “eternal now”.

Forecasters include –
Wine Intelligence Ltd.
“Founded in 2002, we now conduct projects on behalf of wine businesses in more than 35 wine markets. With a team made up of wine industry and research specialists, we offer a broad range of research, insights and strategy services to help wine businesses make better and more profitable business decisions”

“Mike Veseth is editor of The Wine Economist and the author of many books…professor emeritus of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound”

“Dr. Liz Thach, MW is a freelance wine writer, wine market expert, researcher, educator and consultant… award-winning author and educator, specializing in wine business strategy, marketing, leadership/executive development, and wine lifestyle… was the first woman in California and the 7th woman in the US to become a Master of Wine (MW), leading to the California Legislature honoring her with Resolution No. 422, and the California State University system granting her the title of Distinguished Professor of Wine for life.”

The Wine Industry Advisor
“… an Online Industry Publication featuring news, articles, and editorial content relevant to the wine industry… a valuable resource for wine businesses and professionals by providing free access to our articles, industry press releases, and daily news coverage”

If you think Martha Stewart is all about cooken, think again.  Although reputed for her somewhat autocratic leadership style, which can be efficient and results-producing, she was pragmatic enough to select a certified sommelier, Sarah Tracey, to call the shots in wine market trends, who wrote quite an incisive article.

A detailed report celebrating its 20th anniversary from Silicon Valley Bank, SVB State of the wine industry 2021, is available online for downloading.  SVB acts as guidepost for many California wineries.  Their people are in touch with wine, and attend many of the trade seminars that I sit in on.

Ian Cauble holds the title of Master Sommelier, of which less than 300 existed in the entire world as of 2020.  His people from SommSelect often bring an exceptional portfolio to the trade tastings that I attend.

Decanter, in their view of top wine trends for 2021 also included a nice wine list by MW Dirceu Vianna.

From their economic viewpoint Wineeconomist.com discusses the Wine industry overview for the coming year.

—-All about this, kind of

The 2021 Wine World Forecast

Silicon Valley Bank Predicts the Wine Industry Will See a Spike in Demand When Consumers Celebrate Postponed Life Events in 2021
The SVB wine report

Overview of 2020 US Wine Market Stats and 10 Hot Wine Trends for 2021
Dr. Liz Thach looks into 2021

Tag Archives: WineFuture 2021
Mike Veseth’s view of 2021

Top wine trends for 2021: countries, varieties and styles worth exploring
See MW Dirceu Vianna’s wine list

Wine Intelligence’s Industry Predictions For 2021

What’s Coming Up In Wine in 2021, Predictions For The Year Ahead

4 Wine Trends You’ll Be Seeing Everywhere in 2021, According to a Master Sommelier
Ian Cauble works the wine firing line

Global wine trends to watch in 2021

Wine and Cocktail Trends for 2021: Here’s What to Drink Throughout the New Year
Sarah Tracey’s Perception and Martha Stewart’s Pragmatism – includes “Drinks Subscription Boxes” and “Wines That Give Back”

Top Five 2021 Predictions from Brian Rosen, BevStrat

10 Beverage Industry Trends and Takeaways for 2021

5 Major Wine Trends You’ll See in 2021

Wine sales will keep rising after the pandemic, a new report predicts — but maybe not for long

Wine predictions for 2021

Wine trends to watch in 2021

Restaurant Wine Trends to Watch in 2021
The restaurant perception of 2021

2021 Wine Trends | What Is The Next Big Thing In Wine

We Asked 12 Sommeliers: What’s One Trend in Wine You Wish Would Catch On?
A wish list can become reality too

(1) Photo credit Arthur Ogleznev
(2) The author

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