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Wine Trends: By The Numbers 2012

Posted on  | January 3, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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1. Red Blends Roll
Apothic, Ménage à Trois, Red Velvet, RedVolution and the like aren’t making many of the critics’ 2012 “best of” lists, but who cares? Certainly not the legions of people lapping them up, nor the merchants selling them. Smooth, juicy reds—some actually sweet—have been red hot all year.

2. Moscato
Every generation has its go-to sweet wine, and Moscato hit the scene Gangnam-style in 2012. Sophisticated-sounding and oh-so-easy to drink, Moscato took off without much marketing, but with extra mojo provided by rappers and clubs. In turn, suppliers reached into their bag of tricks to create new bottlings—not just sparkling/white but even “pink” and “red.”

3. Prosecco
Was it only 13 years ago we were worried about a Champers shortage? Times change, tastes evolve. Wallet-friendly Prosecco is the go-to bubbly for more Americans than ever. With DOC status now and more upscale and pink versions cropping up, Prosecco’s star is still rising.

4. Deal$, Deal$, Deal$
The 2012 wine market was full and fluid, resulting in lots of deals filtering down from suppliers to distributors to retailers. Many wound up on “flash sale” websites; but brick-and-mortar licensees also snatched up closeouts, and smart ones made their customers happy by turning these wines into “specials” and passing along the savings.

5. Fear No More
The wine world’s outliers, once championed mostly by savvy somms, are benefiting from a growing sense of open-mindedness among consumers. Familiar brands remain strong, yet wine lovers no longer flinch at wines outside their assumed comfort zone. Main beneficiaries (besides the drinkers themselves) include Austria and Greece; Italian heirloom varietals; Spanish Albariño; New Zealand Pinot Noir; 3L bag-inbox wines.

6. Dry Rosé
Shockingly enough, Americans have turned the pink corner and are embracing the seasonal delights of crisp, dry rosés. Provence is still the spiritual capital, but excellent dry pinks are being made all over the globe, with most at affordable prices.

7. Ratings Reset
Saturation and inflation have set in: it now takes 94 points to move high-end wines; for 90 to make a ripple, the wine better be close to $10; scores of 89 or less have virtually disappeared from public view. Perhaps the most telling evidence: the hottest wines today (see trends above) are flying off shelves with little or no “help” from ratings.

8. Targeting Women
This trend is more a supply-side than consumer issue; 2013 saw a veritable debutante’s ball worth of self-consciously femaleoriented new brands and advertising. Time will tell if you-go-girl marketing will lead to brand loyalty.

9. Digitization is Sweeping The Nation
From in-store kiosks, QR codes and iPad wine lists to Beverage Media’s faster-bigger-stronger online ordering system—The Cellar—technology is changing the way wine is managed, presented and sold. And social media continues to fuel sharing views on wine.

10. Wine Goes (Far) East
Chatter about China as a wine market + record-breaking auction action in Hong Kong + the recent sale of The Wine Advocate to Singapore investors = unofficial ascent of the Far East as a focal point for the global wine trade, particularly with respect to collectibles. This trend won’t affect much in the States, though, where Americans are still finding plenty of good wines to drink, and trophy wines have become more of a sideshow.



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