We are already well into the new year, so it is time to reflect on 2018 and look ahead at what’s happening in the world of wine in 2019. We have done some research and also gathered the team’s opinions on what we believe will be the key trends in 2019.
- Consumer Exploration
This is the first key trend listed by Decanter wine magazine in its article “Wine Trends 2019: Ones to Watch” and one we certainly agree with. We have found that our customers have been asking to drink wines they wouldn’t have had before. Consumers are looking to explore new regions, styles and grape varietals. Popular homework assignments for customers have included the indigenous grapes of Italy and the often overlooked wines of Jura with their lighter style and authenticity.
- Prosecco and Rosé: old news but on the up
One would think that Prosecco and Rosé are trends that ebb and flow, but it seems they have carved out a space to grow further in the industry. Rosé wines, many people’s tipple of choice in summer, are being taken more and more seriously. Prosecco, and other bubbly like Cava, have developed a keen following on local shores, especially in Cape Town.
- Organic, Biodynamic and Vegan
There is evidence of a rise in consumer demand for all things plant-based. Vegan seems to be front of mind in the UK: from food to beverages, it is these brands that are appealing to customers’ conscience about what they put into their bodies together with the state of the environment. The demand for these products might not be as big in South Africa than in the likes of the UK, but it is a growing trend and we often have customers making inquiries.
- Lower Alcohol Levels for the Millennials
We have witnessed a rise in requests for low alcohol wines – especially from our younger customers. It’s associated with health and sometimes being able to enjoy more than one glass of wine – often with a meal. This is where the opportunity for the likes of Riesling comes in.
- Champagne: Not Always Brut (some like a touch of sweetness)
Even though most of us prefer our Champagne dry and crisp, Demi Sec continues to be one of the strongest categories in the African market.
- Move Over. South African Wine is here to stay
When UK Master of Wine Tim Atkin awarded Kanonkop’s “Paul Sauer” 2015 a perfect score of 100 points in his 2018 Special Report, it was a bold statement that the rest of the world took note of. We added a small, focussed selection of South African producers’ wines to our portfolio over 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. There are some very serious wines being made in our country.
- Outside of Blue-Chip Burgundy
Wines from the very top domaines are becoming harder and harder to get hold of, resulting in Burgundy consumers looking to the up-and-comers for qualitative value.
- It’s All About the Story
Bigger, household names remain, but wines from boutique producers with an interesting story are increasing in popularity. This trend has steadily grown and spread from the Cape to Johannesburg.
We are fortunate to work with one of the best storytellers: Pieter Walser from BLANKbottle. As he says, if there is no special story behind the vineyard, he won’t produce wine from it.
- The Rise of Cabernet Franc
Single Varietal Wines, Lighter-style, fruit-driven reds are all the rage and this has provided for some space in the spotlight for Cabernet Franc – both on the international and domestic stage, and not only wines from the Loire. There are some wonderful New World examples around, especially those which have managed to shake off that overtly ‘green’ characteristic.
- The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall:
it’s all about finesse, Lighter styled wines continue to take centre stage. Those from the Jura are a perfect example, as well as local wines from a new generation of wine makers, making wines with as little intervention as possible.
Plus 1: Riesling – it’s high time to get involved
We believe that more people should be tasting and enjoying Riesling. There are wines made from this grape that are very low in alcohol, a joy to pair with food and offer tremendous value for money.