The Trending Wines of the Season

The winter quarter can undoubtedly be the most lucrative in terms of wine sales for both restaurants and retailers alike.

Whether purchasing wines to complement a holiday meal or to give as a gift, one thing’s for certain – tis the season for wine buying.  

Here, we take a look at some of the wine trends that are driving sales this season.

Endless Summer

Whoever put forth the false claim that rosé wine is meant only for summertime enjoyment was finally proven wrong this year. Americans are now discovering what the French have known for ages –that rosé wines can be enjoyed during any season and with a variety of meals. As such, rosé sales continue to soar with consumers expanding their consumption beyond traditional Provencal rosé to include their domestic counterparts as well.

Vintage Concerns

Following vintage reports, sometimes to their own detriment, consumers are greatly aware of what critics declare as “worthy years.” The 2011 vintage in Napa was panned by critics and many consumers operate under the false impression that the ’11 vintage was unkind to California as a whole. As a result, many have shied away from some amazing wines.

Conversely, these same consumers have gravitated towards those years hailed by critics such as the classic 2010 Barolo vintage, the heralded 2011 vintage in Portugal and the Willamette Valley’s prized 2012 harvest.  

Pairings, Pairings, Pairings

The idea of “what grows together goes together” has extended into the wine world and consumers have begun purchasing wines to pair with their meals rather than seeking out particular bottles.Napa Cabernet with white fish has become a thing of the past. Now, consumers are enjoying Muscadet with oysters, Vermentino with Pesto pasta, and a host of other classic, regional pairings. Finally, the harmony of the meal has become a primary focus for consumers, leaving them much more open to receiving suggestions and to trying unfamiliar wines.  

Acts of Discovery

Consumers have also begun to step outside of their comfort zones and have started exploring both indigenous varieties and undiscovered wine regions.   

Where Napa and Sonoma once defined the California wine scene, some of the lesser known regions are now experiencing their time in the sun. Anderson Valley, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the newly formed Ballard Canyon AVA are producing fantastic wines and the regions are beginning to gain fame amongst critics and consumers alike.

The New York wine scene, led primarily by the Finger Lakes, is another region that is beginning to receive critical acclaim. Stellar Rieslings, Cabernet Francs and Pinot Noirs are turning up on more and more restaurants’ wine lists and have become quite the darlings of sommeliers due to the region’s ability to produce wines with racy acidity while still retaining a purity of fruit.

Abroad, ancient wine producing regions such as Greece, Croatia and the Republic of Georgia are suddenly gaining recognition with consumers, along with their nearly unpronounceable varieties such as Aghiorghitiko, Bogdanuša and Rkatsiteli. In addition to their novelty factor, wines from these and other lesser known regions have proven to be incredibly great finds and can offer value additions to any store inventory or restaurant wine list.

Happy Endings

Dessert wines have also become all the rage these days and amongst consumers, there has been an increasing focus on fortified wines.

With the 2011 vintage rated as one of Portugal’s best, alongside the 2011 Dow’s Vintage Port chosen by Wine Spectator as the number one wine in the world, there is an ever increasing demand for Port wines, particularly from this stellar vintage.

And what may come as a surprise to many, Sherry has also made quite the comeback and sales have begun exploding amongst both wine drinkers as well as mixologists.  

The artfully written Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret by Talia Baiocchi, released this year, has succeeded in both restoring Sherry’s sullied reputation– as well as making the once confusing world of fortified wine not only understandable, but cool and not just for your grandmother anymore. The uniquely versatile qualities of Sherry are finally being recognized and enjoyed.