It’s somewhat mind-bending to think that a beverage that has been around for centuries is capable of being trendy. However it leads us to question, what is it about our current state of the industry that’s pushing winemakers to go beyond the norm?
Beyond the desire to improve the quality and ethics of both farming and winemaking, consumer-driven trends have edged (or in some cases bulldozed) their way into the market. Over the past decade, trendy wines like Apothic — with high alcohol and high residual sugar — have been purchased by the caseload. We’ve all had our curiosities about orange and even blue wine. And more recently, wine in a can seems to be a sustainable and effective solution to many producers’ packaging woes.
Trends come and go, but movements shape our future. With input from wine professionals across the world, our list of the best wine trends right now showcases a handful of both.
The Best Trends in Wine Right Now, According to Wine Pros:
- Alternative packaging
- Winemaking using native fruits and plants
- Earth-friendly wines
- Indigenous grape varieties
- White Bordeaux
- Alcohol-free wine
- Sustainable winemaking
- Mindful farming
- Virtual wine education
- Drinking Champagne with everything
- Celebrating women winemakers
Keep reading for details about all the best trends in wine right now!
“One of my favorite trends in wine right now is alternative packaging, both in format and tone. From environmentally friendly bag-in-a-box, to conveniently canned Lambrusco, we’re stripping away the fancy veneer of wine. Where labels once endeavored to portray some idyllic chateau, we now see the use of irony, humor, and esoteric art to convey a sense of attitude, confidence, and authenticity. Wine as punk rock, everyday grocery. Do I still sound like I’m in my 20s?” — Matthew Landry, sommelier, educator, judge, importer, Tannin Management Ltd/The Living Vine BC, Vancouver, Canada
“Wine beyond the grape: co-ferments, multi-fruit wines, herbal infusions, perennial beverages. We have a dated devotion to the hero-worship of wine variety and have built monoculture empires around one species of fruit. We have to imagine for a second that if we brought polyculture to the glass and this was the norm, how a young aspiring winemaker might approach raw land — truly asking the right questions about what native flora might want to be there (or be left there). How they might restore woodland habitats of land in disrepair instead of clearing forests for a grape plantation. Imagine how the foraging movement could be bolstered, how produce farmers might be supplemented through potential collaboration. Imagine what wild concoctions might arise from above and below 30 and 50 degrees latitude. Haitian wine? I’m in.” — Brian McClintock, owner, Viticole Wines, White Salmon, Wash.
“The wine trend I’m enjoying seeing grow is ‘earth-friendly’ wines. Seeing more sustainable, organic, and biodynamic producers on our store shelves and in our restaurants — that includes natural wine, although trickier to spot since there is no certification for them yet — as well as the rise in popularity of canned wines. Wines that come in convenient cans like Coke certainly have no business aging in your wine cellar, but they have a much smaller carbon footprint than the average cheap and cheerful bottle of wine. Hey, if I am on an outdoor adventure enjoying this glorious world, then a can of wine is a great companion. Like many modern consumers out there, I try to be as environmentally conscientious as possible to help keep the ‘green guilt’ at bay, and it is wonderful to see the wine world providing ‘earth-friendly’ options.” — Lesley Quinn, Owner and Operator of Stellar Somm Wine Experts, Prince Edward Island, Canada
“I’m loving the rediscovery of white Bordeaux. The intertwining of namely Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle (plus the other white varieties) has created so many mouthwatering expressions. For those who love Burgundy, the rich and creamy aged whites from Pessac-Léognan only continue to impress — so much texture and mouthfeel — and they truly do stand the test of time. If New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are your things, then you could dip your toe into Entre-Deux-Mers, which has some incredibly crisp, fruit-forward styles to explore. Honestly, every week I find myself discovering a new favorite.” — Aidy Smith, co-founder, director and presenter, The Three Drinkers, London
“I love seeing more and more alcohol-free, quality wines from well-renowned wineries and winemakers on the market. It’s the industry’s answer to continuing to provide elevated dining experiences while keeping our guests and bosses happy in an increasingly health-conscious atmosphere. I can still go to the table with a beautiful bottle and story in hand, and the wine still has the peaks, valleys, tang, and depth that make it the perfect companion to food — just without the hangover, guilt, or sacrifice.” — Candace Olsen, sommelier, educator, consultant, VintageRed, NYC
“Sustainability would be one of the best trends I’ve seen in wine. It has gone from being a niche and small movement to a global phenomenon — with some countries even aiming for 100 percent sustainability, like New Zealand. While sustainability has a broad definition, from environmental to social, the important facet is that wineries are moving from regular chemical inputs to more organic and holistic ways of working in the vineyard. [I believe this] produces better grapes and, in turn, better wines — and even more importantly, an improved future for our planet and industry.” — Nupur Gogia, MW Student, founder of Vinequity, and wine agent TWC Imports, Toronto
“My favorite trend in the wine world of late is the genuine interest in mindful farming. Up and down the supply chain — from the vineyard to the end consumer — there has been an evolution in focus. When I first started in this business, few people had heard of biodynamics. These days, I have servers and bartenders fluent in the differences between sustainable, organic, and biodynamic farming. We have guests asking about regenerative agriculture and reps volunteering facts about irrigation, tilling, and so forth. Here’s hoping this isn’t a fleeting trend, but a sign of where the industry is headed.” — Eduardo Porto Carreiro, Beverage Director, Rocket Farm Restaurants, Atlanta
“Since the start of the pandemic, I have been performing Instagram virtual wine tastings and doing live interviews with diverse winemakers, producers, and wine professionals. I truly believe wine helps to express diversity and that it’s meant to be shared with everyone. We all grow along with it. In my humble opinion, the message of wine has improved tremendously in the past year. To know that via social media I am reaching out to lots of different people across the globe about a cool Syrah made in Morocco, or a refreshing Portuguese sparkling red, speaks volumes to me.” — Bruno Almeida, sommelier and wine educator, NYC
“I think one of my favorite wine trends now is one of the oldest: Drink Champagne with everything! Champagne is the universal wine, with the ability to pair with everything from potato chips to oysters to ribeyes. I’m convinced the U.K., the Canadian Maritimes, and other similar climatic regions will soon produce some of the best sparkling wines in the world. When I opened Bar Von Der Fels, a third of the list was sparkling wine. I remember getting excited about Arianna Occhipinti’s wines a decade ago; they were fun and different. Fast forward seven to eight years, and we are finally getting excited about women winemakers and minorities in the winemaking world. I love what I’m seeing (and drinking!), and I hope we see a lot more Ariannas around the globe who are making exciting new wines and leading the way for other young women in the wine scene.” — Will Trow, Owner, Bar Von der Fels, Calgary, Canada