Wine Industry Pros Predict 2016's Biggest Trends

Wine Industry Pros Predict 2016's Biggest Trends

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

2015 was quite a busy year for the wine industry. From restaurants introducing Coravin wine programs, wine keg systemsdigital wine lists, or foregoing menus all together, the year was marked by sommeliers and restaurant beverage directors pushing the limits and experimenting with unusual varieties, regions, food pairings and service styles. 

This exploration was not just restricted to traditional wine by the glass offerings, with bar managers incorporating wine into their restaurant cocktail programs and the craft beer industry taking some inspiration from the wine industry as well. Even chefs got into the mix, experimenting with crafting their own wine to best suit their cuisine. 

Now, more than a week into 2016, three wine industry experts share their predictions for the year ahead.

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San Francisco Leads West Coast in Burgeoning Natural Wine Scene

San Francisco Leads West Coast in Burgeoning Natural Wine Scene

By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor

If you count a high quality wine scene as one of your must haves in a city, there are few places better to live in or travel to than the San Francisco Bay Area. Situated near the famous wine regions of Napa and Sonoma and infused with a culture that has always valued high-end cuisine and old world charm, the Bay Area has embraced wine culture on a level unmatched in the United States (you'd expect no less from the “Paris of the West”). And though there's certainly an abundance of extravagantly priced, oak-bombed bottles littering the city, wine lovers here have also embraced the current hot trend in the world of vino: natural wine. 

Natural wine may feel very of the moment, but at its core the movement is based around an attempt to bring wine making back to its roots. “Natural Wine” may mean different things to different people, but in a basic sense it refers to wine made with minimal human intervention, using organic or biodynamically grown grapes, free of additives and fermented with native yeasts. Flavor additives and chemical manipulation are also not allowed. Unable to use human devices to interfere with the process, winemakers must instead work with the natural process that creates wine, focusing on terroir, vine health, and seasonal variation. The result is a class of incredibly complex, diverse wines which can be seen as pure expressions of their environments. Natural wine is lively, unique, and interesting, and offers an alternative to the Chardonnay and Malbec class of wines that have come to dominate the wine market. The following is a list of San Francisco hot spots that have achieved great success by including natural wines on their lists.

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