The ten wine trends I’m backing this year

I have always been a fan of insights and getting a clear view of what’s around the corner. For many years here at Bibendum, we have taken huge pride in being on top of the latest trends in the industry.

Our award-winning forecasting tool, Mode captures wine trends as they evolve at the top of the UK On Trade, allowing us to keep ahead of the curve in the wider market. Mode 2019 has highlighted some exciting trends to look out for on wine lists: from the ‘Holiday Islands’ to ‘Smaller Serves’. Our next campaign promoting ‘By the Glass’ listings is designed to capitalise on this; and to celebrate some of our best premium wines from the Southern Hemisphere. Many of which were recently recognised at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards, where we were awarded New World Wine Merchant of the Year.

Here are 10 of my favourite emerging trends from the latest Mode (in no particular order!):

1. Orange Skin Contact
Although not new to the wine scene, Orange wines are now proving their popularity as a standalone category on restaurant wine lists. 44% of tracked venues list Orange wines; and of those that do give Orange a separate section, often with more listings than Rosé. That’s quite something. One of our English still wine producers, Litmus, has a delicious one, as does one of our new producers from the Jura in France, Domaine de la Pinte.

2. Alternative Sparkling
We’re big fans of English Sparkling and its growth in the last few years has been spectacular to see. And not just Prosecco. We are seeing more and more customers jumping on the bandwagon, with some premium venues wanting to replace their house Champagne with a premium English sparkling wine. These are now gaining a reputation as a must-list in the premium On Trade, seen on 1 in every 2 wine lists. Just a few short years ago, this would have been impossible. Crémant is also gaining traction, with 2 in 3 French sparkling listings originating from regions other than the Loire.

3. Austria
Emerging as a favourite among the premium On Trade, wines from Austria appear on 9 in 10 lists – double that of last year! And not just Gruner Veltliner…..

4. Smaller Serves
As more and more consumers look to experiment, over a third of Mode-tracked lists offer sharing carafes either in 375ml or 500ml. Keep an eye out for our ‘Best In Glass’ campaign, kicking off in July. This is a great way for restaurants to increase overall spend (and margin), in what is becoming an increasingly difficult market.

5. Pinot Gris
Almost 6 in 10 lists feature a Pinot Gris, up from a third in the previous year. Increasingly, the varietal is being sourced from cool climates outside France. Look to one of our German producers from the Mosel, Markus Molitor as a great example.

6. Sake
We’ve long been pioneers of Sake, but it is now listed in venues with varying cuisines, from French to Spanish to British. Mode found Sake on 3 in 10 trendsetting wine lists this season, all of which had multiple listings.

7. A Diverse Old World
From Central Europe to the Balkan Peninsula and the Middle East, there’s a diverse Old World selection on trendsetting lists. Last year, Mode observed Greece and Hungary as emerging trends. Both countries are now well established – featuring on 67% and 52% of lists respectively. Other less mainstream countries include Lebanon and the Czech Republic, which feature on over 1 in 4 lists.

8. Madeira
Madeira features on over 1 in 4 Mode-tracked lists. This fortified wine is well placed for growth as a new generation of drinkers discover the fortified category, often through its inclusion in craft cocktails.

9. Non-Provence Rosé
After the incredible popularity of Provence Rosé, the premium On Trade is now looking beyond Provence. 60% of French listings are sourced from other regions including Languedoc-Roussillon, the Loire and the Rhone Valley. Domaine Lafage is a great example, making fruitier and fuller-bodied rosés than those from Provence.

10. The Holiday Islands
Forget the beaches and sunset strips; popular holiday islands are proving they are not just for the tourists. 37% of premium venues list wine from the Canary Islands, the majority being Tenerife’s native grapes. A perfect addition to your list for summer!

So, whatever you’re drinking this summer, make you sure try one of these exciting styles!

Michael opened Bibendum's first On Trade account way back in 1985. Fast forward 30 odd years and today he's our CEO. Keep up with his latest industry thoughts in his monthly blog on topics from English wine to Mindful winemaking.

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