Wine is a consumer product. With so much attention paid to abstract concepts such as terroir, minerality, and what constitutes “natural,” it can be easy to forget that. But just like any other consumer product, wine is subject to the fickle tides of trend and fashion.
Today’s Pet Nat drinker might be tomorrow’s grower Champagne enthusiast. Come next year, they might be off bubbles altogether. To help you stay ahead of the game, we asked sommeliers nationwide to share what they’re currently pouring and drinking in their restaurants.
From red-hot regions, to innovative new (and old) drinking vessels, here are the 12 best trends in wine right now, according to industry pros.
“Porróns — the iconic drinking vessel of the Basque Country in Spain. Porróns are popping up in more and more restaurants and retail spaces, and are making wine much more fun. They’re the true sign of a party at any wine event.” — Anthony Cailan, Beverage Director, The Usual, New York, NY
“The new trend I have noticed is the increase in people drinking rosé wines throughout the year, not just during the ‘season.’ People are [also trying] new rosés from Italy or Spain, and not only from Provence. I’ve also noticed that people are paying more attending to lesser-known wine countries, like Slovenia and Croatia. This helps them learn about these beautiful countries and broadens their willingness to taste more indigenous grapes and more interesting wines.” — Juan Fernandez, Head Sommelier, The Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC
“Although it took a while to catch fire, I can’t hold back my excitement for Sicilian wine’s growing recognition. This flows in the same vein as Beaujolais and what those wines experienced a few years ago. The key is to seek out producers like Masseria del Pino [that are] doing it the old school way, and not get trapped by the flashy, lip-smackingly juicy expressions of Etna Rosso.” — Evan Abrams, Beverage Director, Marta, New York, NY
“I think wine directors putting a few vintage wines on their by-the-glass lists is great. A lot of people never get a chance to try a fully mature wine, as they are usually only offered by the bottle and the cost of entry can be frighteningly high. Offering a few selections of older wines by the glass allows people to taste wines when they are mature, without the commitment and expense of buying a full bottle. I hope to see more of that.” — David Gibbs, Wine Director and Co-Owner, Sushi Note, Los Angeles, CA
“[It] seems like the new wine buying generation is looking for different things all the time. It’s not about the comfort of knowing, it’s about the excitement of experimenting. … I would [also] say cool vintages for warm climates. Drinking Rhône wine from cool vintages like ‘08 and ‘11 was unhip for so long but tasting ‘08 Rayas or ‘11 Clape or Graillot shows an elegance to the northern Rhône that makes it not only great for summer, but really fresh and exciting.” — Ryan Arnold, Wine Director, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, Austin, TX
“Natural wines have become increasingly popular and recognized but without a lot of understanding. It’s hard to define what “natural” is and what it is not. I’m excited that the industry has been moving away from overusing the term “natural” and [is] instead defining wines by farming methods and the ethos of the individual winemaker.” — Ashley Santoro, Regional Beverage Director, The Standard, New York, NY
“The best trend that I see right now is canned wine and other non-traditional vessels. … There is some really great stuff on the market that is cheap, accessible, and fun. (Try Ramona canned wine or Francis Ford Coppola’s Diamond collection Chardonnay if you don’t believe me!) I love being able to throw a can in my bag and take it to the pool with me. Wine doesn’t need a cork and glass bottle to be wine.” — Cristie Norman, Sommelier and Wine Educator, Spago, Los Angeles, CA
“The rising celebration of independent female winemakers and entrepreneurs, as well as sustainable cultivation, is exciting. Watching the cult rise of incredibly special brands owned and led by talented humans like Martha Stoumen and Lauren Brennan Bissell from Inconnu, as well as Jordan Salcito from Ramona — [which is] paving the way in organic canned wine — is rewarding. My generation craves transparency and [wants to understand] the behind-the-scenes of everything that touches our lives. So, it feels like a new era where consumers are really diving deep into, and caring about, the natural practices of how a wine is made and who the person is making it.” — Camilla Marcus, Owner, west~bourne, New York, NY
“I think the best trend happening right now is that guests are rediscovering the classics. I feel that the U.S. has recently gone through a cycle of natural wines, canned wines, and other ‘hip’ styles. Even though there are delicious wines in these categories, it’s my belief that we can’t forget where we came from and the historic estates that shaped our industry today. … We still love pouring wines from new producers, but it’s exciting to see the historical estates still getting attention and I think we’ll start to see that becoming more of a trend.” — Ashley Broshious, Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier, Zero Restaurant + Bar, Charleston, SC
“In New York, there has been a large trend towards Australian wine. I think that this trend is such a wonderful movement, due to the fact that the face of Australian wine has changed drastically from the Yellowtail days. There are trailblazers such as Kate and Hamish Laurie of Deviation Road, Michael Dillon of Bindi Wines, and Charlotte Dalton, that are truly pushing the boundaries of great wine. I can only hope that this trend is endless and consuming to the U.S. market.” — Chelsea Carrier, Beverage Director and Sommelier, Roof at Park South, New York, NY
“There are two great trends right now: a huge push for wineries moving towards sustainable practices to be biodynamic/organic, and a rise in women-run wineries around the world.” — Alex Papetsas, Wine Director, Kellari, New York, NY
“The best trend right now is an increased focus on quality emerging wine areas showcased by the cult-like devotion that is being given to Etna in eastern Sicily. Etna is perfect. Relatively low alcohol (for Italy), fresh, beautifully textured, transcendent in terms of finding a sense of place, and growers all have fascinating narratives of families and connections to place. It’s a perfect combination of what has drawn so many of my colleagues to be compelled by small growing regions and fine wine in general.” — John Kelley, Sommelier, Tagliata, Baltimore, MD