10 Wine Trends to Watch in 2024
As we approach the New Year, we've compiled the key wine trends anticipated for 2024.
Drawing insights from PROOF Insight, the drinks insights agency, our findings suggest that regional Italian wines from Piedmont and Alto-Adige, Portuguese blends, US varieties, and South African Chenin are set to trend in the UK On Trade next year. In the midst of macro challenges impacting the hospitality industry, such as duty reform and the cost of living crisis, maintaining an enticing wine list that not only offers value but also stimulates increased consumer spending becomes even more crucial.
Affluent wine drinkers are often looking to treat themselves when buying wine in the on-trade. PROOF Insight’s analysis found operators focusing on wine premiumisation are protecting profits despite challenged volumes. Consumers are also more likely to recommend sites where they felt the perceived quality of wine is high - 92% of consumers would recommend a venue where they rated the wine as very good or excellent. The by-the-glass offering, price laddering, and positioning of key varietals are all important elements of a wine premiumisation strategy.
As the consequences of the climate crisis become increasingly visible, consumers are becoming detached and distrusting towards corporate pledges and environmental claims. Sustainability accreditation may no longer be enough, consumers want communication on the progress made towards sustainability goals and the impact on the local environment and community. For wine, this means that when listing sustainable wines, mentioning their goals is no longer enough. It's important that they are clearly labelled with their environmental progress.
Data driven ranging
With on-trade drinks volume 12% lower than pre-Covid, venues getting the most value out of their wine range is as crucial. As AI technology drives greater efficiency for consumers and businesses, there’s an opportunity for hospitality operators to use data-driven tools. Adjusting the drinks range based on local demographics and their preferences could help to drive higher rate-of-sale and repeat visits.
As purse strings tighten, consumers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty. In 2024, we predict more operators will be looking at ways they can help their customers save money. From exclusive membership clubs to loyalty schemes, it’s clear that consumers like to feel they are part of a community, even more so if they’re getting a good deal. Could pubs and restaurants deepen ties with their local customer base, offering perks, money savings and social events. This could be applied to wine by introducing wine clubs, happy hours, and exclusive tasting events.
Portugal has a rich heritage of other blended wines typically made from its indigenous grape varieties. In MODE venues, Portuguese blends feature in at least half of wine lists with more featuring them by the glass compared to two years ago. In the GB on-trade, Portuguese wines are still niche, accounting for 0.3% of MAT still wine volumes, but there are already signs of growth (+7.8% vs. last year). Known for its youthful qualities and vibrant acidity, Vinho Verde is also seeing a growth in popularity. Vinho Verde bottle listings appear in at least one out of two MODE restaurant listings. This wine is also growing in popularity in MODE venues appearing in more wine by the glass listings. Its low alcohol content can work in its favour in the UK market by having a lower duty charge under the new system.
South Africa Chenin Blanc
Wine makers from the region are showcasing the potentials from this versatile grape and are paying particular attention to old vines. These older vines often yield age-worthy and complex wines of exceptional quality. Appearing in at least one out of two MODE restaurants and with listings growing, South African Chenin Blancs could soon feature in many more wine lists.
Alternatives to Champagne
Champagne is experiencing a dip in demand, with a -22.0% decline in MAT volumes in the GB on-trade. This suggests that this luxury wine may be getting out of reach for many consumers. Nevertheless, alternative sparkling wines, such as English Sparkling wine and Franciacorta that are produced in similar ways, are gaining favour in MODE establishments. Both types see listings increase - English sparkling wine appear in six out of 10 venues and Franciacorta appears in one out of five MODE venues.
Piedmont, home to Nebbiolo which produces world-famous Barolos and Barbarescos, offers a diverse range of native grape varieties. MODE wine lists are showcasing the diversity from this classic region with more listings of Barbera, Arneis, Freisa and Grignolino which appear in at least four out of five MODE venues. What’s more, some of these wines are appearing in by the glass format further highlighting their growing popularity in premium restaurants.
Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
This alpine region in northern Italy, produces crisp, aromatic white wines and fragrant reds. Key producers are helping to raise the profile of this region and are now featured across many MODE venues. Known for its elegant whites such as Pinot Grigio as well as rich Teroldegos but now MODE venues are featuring some of its lesser-known grape varieties, such as Kerner and Schiava.
Typically, a US wine on a list meant one from California. However, this year MODE restaurants are featuring more wines from other US wine regions. Listings from neighbouring states Oregon, particularly Pinot Noirs from Willamette Valley, and Syrahs from Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley are gaining prominence. They addition of listings from New York’s Finger Lakes and Vermont further enrich listings from the US. Now, wines from these other US regions appear in one out of two MODE venues.