Uncorked: 2021 Wine Trends to Watch
by David Klemt
What’s up with wine in 2021? We reviewed multiple sources to find out.
One great thing about hunting for wine trends is that it’s easy—there’s no shortage of sources willing to make predictions.
Common Wine Trends
The IWSR, without a doubt a reputable source for information about all things beverage, expects wine consumption to “bounce back” this year.
Along with Forbes, Wine Intelligence, just-drinks, and bar inventory platform Backbar, the IWSR expects e-commerce to be crucial for wine sales. Continuing with tech influence, the IWSR and Wine Intelligence expect wine producers and sellers to engage more with consumers online. Forbes pointed to orange wine benefiting from Instagram posts as a specific example of digital engagement.
Forbes, the IWSR, and Wine Intelligence predict alternative packaging to really take off in 2021. Canned wines are well positioned but other options—wine-in-box and “letterbox” bottles, for example—will perform well this year.
Forbes, the IWSR, and WineMemoir expect sustainability to be even more important in 2021. The IWSR mentioned organic and low-intervention wine, and they pointed to biodynamic wine, as did WineMemoir. Zero-waste winemaking was mentioned by Forbes.
The IWSR and Forbes expect sparkling wine—Prosecco specifically—to have a moment this year. Drinking occasions, per the IWSR, have come to include Prosecco more often; sparkling is no longer just for celebrating.
Breakout Wine Trends
Speaking of moments, rosé Champagne will have on in 2021, according to Forbes. The publication also expects the wealthy to continue “drinking richly,” so operators with rare, exclusive and high-dollar bottles should consider promoting them.
With the explosive growth of hard seltzer that has taken place over the past few years, Wine Intelligence predicts 2021 to be the year the wine seltzer market is established.
People will choose “safe” wine options, meaning they’ll be less likely to experiment and move out of their comfort zones, according to just-drinks. The magazine is also more cautious about the category’s growth this year, pointing to slowed economies and rises in alcohol duty rates.
Backbar, explaining that wine dollar value slipped but sales volume rose in 2020, predicts restaurants will offer more affordable wines. Along with that trend, they predict restaurants will hold less inventory to reduce costs, meaning wine lists will shrink.
Specific varietals Backbar predicts will perform well due to a turn toward affordable wines: South American Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Malbec; South African Chenin Blanc; Portuguese reds; red blends; and American wines in general.
2021 will be the Year of Cabernet Franc, according to WineMemoir. Bordeaux will see a resurgence in popularity, and wines from Abruzzo and Jura will see a lift.