Top 10 Wine and Spirits Trends for 2023

In a post-pandemic era, life has seemingly returned to normal, leaving behind virtual tastings and DIY cocktails. But between balanced wellness and conscious convenience, drinks trends and the way people consume alcohol are shifting. 

Looking ahead to what the New Year might have in store for the UK On Trade, we take a look at the top wine and spirits trends for 2023 and what they mean for the hospitality industry. Here are Bibendum’s top 10 trends powered by PROOF Insight

1. Champagne

2022 was the year that Champagne got its sparkle back in the UK, value sales in the on-trade were up 2% on 2019, an impressive performance given total wine value was down 17% and the all-important Christmas period was lost to last-minute lockdowns. In 2023, an emerging trend will be grower and neo-négociant Champagne. A movement that has gained momentum over the past few decades, it now appears in at least one out of 2 MODE-tracked restaurants. Grower Champagne, harvested and produced by those who own the vineyards, and neo-négociants, grower turned négociant, showcase the diversity of styles as well as the vast array of terroirs found within the region. With drinkers able to choose from a wide range of flavour profiles, clean and light to round and fruity, demand for grower/neo-négociant Champagnes is likely to continue to gather pace.

Sources: MODE Wine 2022, CGA MAT to 10.09.22

2. Lambrusco & red fizz

Lambrusco looks set to make a comeback. The fruit-driven lightly sparkling (frizzante) red, originating from Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in northern Italy, is now listed in 1 in 5 trendsetting restaurants and wine bars. Ranging in style from dry to sweet, it is dry expressions made with the Salamino or Grasparossa grapes that have been spotted on MODE menus, offering red fruits with violet (Salamino) or peppery (Grasparossa) notes. Opinions divide on Lambrusco: whilst 27% of UK consumers have tried Lambrusco and want to drink again, 33% are not interested in drinking it again. A younger drinker will drive the resurgence, 48% of 18-45s are open to Lambrusco! Pink fizz is having a moment, is it time for red fizz to get in the spotlight too?

Sources: POURTRAITS survey October 2022, MODE Wine
Discovering Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna's Sparkling Red Wine - La Cucina Italiana

3. English red

Whilst most Pinot Noir plantings go into making English Sparkling, after an excellent 2022 harvest and an increasingly warmer climate, English red is one to watch. Currently listed in 15% of MODE venues, English Pinot Noir or field blend reds are typically elegant and bursting with red cherry notes. Production is low: whilst UK wine delivers over £21 million in the on-trade, just 6% of value is driven by red wine, up from 4% in 2019. Limited supply means this trend will hit the premium end of the market first. Consumer appetite is there: 75% of red wine drinkers are interested in drinking English still wine.

Sources: POURTRAITS survey October 2022, CGA MAT to 10.09.22
Red Wine - WineGB

4. Indigenous grapes

Catering for experimental wine drinkers who love to try something off-the-beaten-track, there has been an increase in indigenous grape varieties from across the globe listed in trendsetting MODE venues. Examples include Godello and Sumoll from Spain, Xinomavro and Assyritko from Greece, as well as native grapes from Eastern European origins including Turkey, Hungary, and Georgia. Venues listing lesser-known grapes should consider offering by-the-glass, and clearly communicating the style of wine, to encourage trial.

Additional stats:

  • Wine MODE 2022 saw a range of indigenous grape varieties listing increase vs. Wine MODE 2019:

    • Greece – Xinomavro (+70%) Assyritko (+45%)

    • Jura and Savoie – Jacquere (+175%), Savagnin (+63%), Trosseau (+150%)

    • Spain – Godello (+83%), Sumoll (+15%)

    • Sicily – Grillo (+225%), Nero d’Avola (+50%), Zibibbo (+433%)

5. Manzanilla

Lighter in style than a fino sherry, number of Manzanilla listings have almost doubled and is listed in at least 1 in 3 MODE restaurants. Consumers are appreciating the dry version of sherry from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda which, given its proximity to the sea, takes on a saltier flavour profile than Fino.

6.  Macvin de Jura

As consumers take an interest in the Jura (Wine MODE 2022), they are also taking an interest in the traditional sweet and foritified wine from the area – Macvin du Jura. Listings have doubled in MODE restaurants since 2019.

7. South African straw wine

While Vin de Constance is a mainstay in South African dessert offering, listings of straw wines from South Africa are growing. Made from grapes dried on straw mats, the grapes are harvested when they still retain a bit of acidity, so the drying process concentrates both the sugars and the acidity in the grape resulting in a balanced dessert wine. South African Straw wine appears in 1 out of 10 Wine MODE restaurants.

8. Asian Spirits and Liqueurs 

Asia continues to inspire cocktails in MODE trendsetting bars; 82% of bars offer cocktails containing Asian ingredients. Japan continues to be the front-runner when it comes to influencing spirits and cocktails, although we expect to see further diversification in origins over the coming year as goods from South Korea become more popular. Japanese sake remains popular, found in 27% of MODE trendsetting bars. Shochu, a distilled beverage from Japan, now appears in 18% whilst Umeshu, a Japanese plum liqueur, appears in 14%. Japanese whiskey is now found in 70% of MODE trendsetting bars whilst Taiwanese whiskey is now found in 3 in 10. Gins from Japan, Korea, Philippines, and Singapore have also been spotted on menus. Soju, a distilled beverage from South Korea, is likely to become more popular in the coming year with 38% of under-45s saying they would try it.

Sources: MODE Spirits 2022-23

9. Saline flavours

Half of MODE trendsetting bars offer a saline cocktail, with 9% of under 35s enjoying salty flavours in cocktails. Trend-setting bars continue to explore the flavours by looking away from table salt to achieve salinity. Seaweed has proved to be a popular alternative to traditional salt, found in 14% of MODE trendsetting bars. Alternative salts such as grasshopper salt, green salt and worm salt have also been spotted on menus too as consumers push the boundaries.

Sources: MODE Spirits 2022-23, PROOF POURTRAITS Oct 22

10. Smokey/Woody Cocktails

Smokey cocktails can be found in 32% of MODE Trendsetting bars with woody cocktails found in 36% of bars. Smokey flavours have been derived from smoking the cocktail itself, as well as smoked spirits, smoked salts and even smoked milk. Woods such as cedar, oak and pine have been used as well as palo santo from South America to produce woody flavours. Mezcal offers a smokier alternative to tequila, and its popularity has grown as a cocktail ingredient and beyond. It is now found in 82% of MODE trendsetting bars in 7% of cocktail listings.

Sources: MODE Spirits 2022-23

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