2016 Wine Predictions: Trends to Watch Out For this Year

New Year, new wine trends. We’re more than a week into 2016, but the experts here at Singapore Wine Vault are already buzzing with excitement. They’re all in agreement that this year is going to be a big year for wine. 2015 was defined by a series of ups and downs, especially with demand for craft cider and craft beer eating into worldwide wine sales. But this year is looking better for winemakers and drinkers alike.

Cabernet Franc is the next ‘wine cellar favorite.’

Move over, Cabernet Sauvignon, there’s a new ‘King of Reds’ in town. Cabernet Franc may not be as popular as other varietals like Syrah, Merlot, and Cab Sauvignon, but this classic red is getting a lot of love from consumers and critics.

Restaurants and wine bars from California to South Africa, Chile to Washington State, are now stocking up on Loire Valley’s main squeeze. This elegant, aromatic, and earthy varietal has a steel spine of lip-smacking acidity. With its wealth of food-friendly flavors, Cab is potentially  the next big food pairing wine and we’re expecting foodies and savvy sippers to become instant fans of this delectable vino.

English Sparkling Wines are also on the rise

Now, this new development will put English Sparkling Wines in the limelight. When world-famous Champagne producer, Taittinger, announced plans to start a vineyard in Kent, UK, the entire industry took notice. According to reports, the decision to create an estate in the United Kingdom was due to the changing climate in Champagne, France. The region’s once nippy growing conditions have become warmer and this shift in temperature is slowly affecting the flavors of the wine grapes.

The new vineyard location is situated on the chilly, chalky belt near Canterbury and Chilham, and Taittinger CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger is convinced that they’ve found the right place to grow a myriad of Old World varieties.

Once winery is established, the new vineyard will be called Domaine Evremond, after the 17th-century French soldier who introduced Champagne to the court of Charles II.  Planting is expected to commence in 2017.

The Natural wine trend continues

Natural, naked, biodynamic, organic, and sustainable wines are all the rage right now. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they’re starting to look for wines with as little technological or chemical intervention as possible. Hence, the natural wine revolution began. It’s a trend that’s been going on for years, but didn’t go mainstream until late in 2015. With the way it’s developing today, we’re expecting this movement to continue beyond 2016.

Advocates of this ‘go green’ change claim that natural wines are more genuine, more environmentally friendly, and more terroir-driven. Since you’re already starting out with organically or biodynamically farmed wine, the tipple is believed to be healthier as well. It definitely has lower chemicals than your run-of-the-mill plonk.

Wine collectors will turn to Italian Wines

While Bordeaux may have taken the top spot in the Liv-ex list of best-performing wines, 2015 was the year Burgundy raked in millions at auctions. With the prices of collectible Burgundies rising astronomically, we’re seeing the continued alienation of the populous mid-segment market. Now, business savvy collectors will see this ‘closing door’ as an opportunity to actually expand their collections to include future top performers.

These are the Super Tuscans and the offerings of premium wineries like Brunello di Montalcino, Ornellaia, and Tenuta San Guido (for their Sassicaia wines). For Burgundy lovers, we recommend turning to Piemonte wines instead. You simply can’t go wrong with a fragrant and terroir-driven Barbaresco or Barolo.

Expect the emergence of ‘Wine Trucks’

Food trucks are all the rage today. Though the concept isn’t particularly new, innovations in the food truck business have vastly improved its reputation. Once regarded as ‘roach coaches,’ this stigma has slowly faded through the years. Today, food trucks are decked-out  and they offer great, quality food,  irresistible food deals, and improved dining experience. There are even gourmet food trucks.

As food trucks become more ‘high-end,’ we’re seeing other luxury industries getting in on the action. First we had Starbucks gourmet coffee trucks and now we have premium French wine on wheels. The Saint-Emilion Wine Trip is possibly the most brilliant marketing ploy we’ve ever seen. According to the Saint-Emilion website, 60 percent (%) of the region’s wine sales are in France. So, to help grow their market, the vintners of the esteemed appellation decided to bring their wines to the people.

The Saint-Emilion Wine Trip used a  fire engine red, vintage 1976 Citroën H Van as their food truck. It  will be making 15-20 stops in four French regions—Pas de Calais, Alsace, Brittany, and Southwest France. You can catch this incredible pop-up wine tasting room at wine fairs, jazz festivals, and antique markets. A sommelier will be driving the van and pouring 16 of the region’s finest tipples. This unique tour will start March 2016 and if this tour becomes successful, we’ll likely see more wine regions and companies will follow suit.

Wine-by-the-glass takes off

If you’re  in a restaurant or a wine bar, forget about ordering wines per bottle. The new trend is to go by-the-glass. Right now, we have restaurants and bars like Dirty Water in San Francisco and Les 110 de Taillevent in London offering over 100 wines in glasses. This is perfect for wine enthusiasts who are on the lookout for their next wine cellar additions.

Technology is taking over the wine world

On the winemakers’ side of things, let’s talk drones. In the United States, some vineyards are now using drones to monitor their vines. Capable of taking videos from heights of up to 150 feet, these technological wonders will make it easier for vignerons to spot disease and drought. Drones can also be used to enhance vineyard security.

Now, onto the consumers’ end. Technology is also reshaping the wine market by making information super accessible to wine drinkers. You have a plethora of price comparison apps that offer tasting notes from critics and regular drinkers alike. Today’s sippers are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning when it comes to wine, which is a really good thing for wineries and merchants with stellar reputations. Not so good for anyone else Robert Parker or Jancis Robinson has panned.

And thus ends our 2016 wine predictions. Watch this space for more industry news and market highlights.