Wine Talk

Snooth User: Vigna

The Future of wine (?)

Original post by Vigna, Jan 21, 2010.

Hi everybody, I'm an italian student and I am writing down a thesis about the future of wine. In your opinion, which wine we will drink in about 10 years and how? I know that it is a complex question but I really need ideas, suggestions, fears and doubt! Thanks a lot!


Reply by amour, Jan 21, 2010.

The other market factor (may not be as substantial....does any one know?)
is that there are many products being made from wine and grapes and by-products.

Many cosmetic, skin-cleansing lines and so on.

Reply by Eric Guido, Jan 21, 2010.

I have to disagree with the idea that modern styled wines will go away in ten years. The reason I say this has nothing to do with my preference. Instead, that people such as ourselves, that love wine enough to chat on forums and focus so much energy on it, are not large enough in numbers to make up the majority of wine purchases.

The majority is made up of the the casual wine consumer who, I believe, will continue to associate good wine with a heavy mouth feel, thick rich fruit and the "human catnip" vanilla (from oak). I don't think these people's taste is going to change any time soon.

If anything, we may see less natural wine making and more additives with a use of technology to make cheaper wine taste even more elegant and clean for the wine consumer masses.


Now what I would wish to see in the next ten years.

More varietal expression
More of Italy's indigenous grapes on the mass market.
Less emphasis on "modern" (which is becoming a hard term to describe) wine making.
Direct sales of wine between europe and the US.
to name just a few...

Reply by dmcker, Jan 21, 2010.

Good points, Eric, in your final list. If you reread my first post you won't see me saying big, manufactured wines will disappear in 10 years. Too many people love them--just as many, many people drink Coke or Pepsi, a beverage I only have once or twice a year these days as opposed to once or twice a day when I was a teenager (and even I drink plenty of those large reds, depending on what they are...). I'm just talking about (hopefully) an increase in the ongoing trend in a different direction. Hey, back 10 years ago you could still find plenty of 'wine coolers' in market fridges, and white zin consumption was still way up, so I guess some progress has already been made....;-)

10 years isn't all that long, anyway. Just think back to 2000. That was when many more wines from Bordeaux (garagiste or mainstream with long histories, like Pavie) were only really beginning to demonstrate their sea-change in Parker-delineated direction. Ditto for what was going on in Toscana or Piemonte. The growing awareness and recognition of the pitfalls of this approach will quite likely have progressed that much more by 2020.

This I personally view as being a bigger trend than the amount of global warming that will have occurred by then, political popularity of the latter issue set aside for the moment. More new consumers will be coming into the market, within both established markets and the emerging one, yes, but the more educated and knowledgeable segments will get even more so--thanks to the Internet, to online merchants and especially to sites like Snooth--and will demand better of their suppliers.

China will be different then, just as Japan changed greatly between 1985 and 1995 in its purchasing, eating and drinking habits and appreciations. India, too, and they have greater advantage for learning and interacting with the wine centers of the rest of the world because of their linguistic leg up. Although there will likely be more wine production within these areas, it takes a long time to learn how to make good wine, and what the local terroir can best support, as we all know from watching and tasting wines from America, the Antipodes and elsewhere. Even now Japan still can't make much any decent wine, and they have some of the most creative and disciplined agriculturalists on earth. They don't have that wine culture in their blood and history, though, nor do China and India, so 'westernized' consumers there will be drinking plenty of wines from elsewhere.

So you'll have large beverage companies who manufacture chemical plonk, but you'll have plenty of large, medium and especially smaller operations who are making what I call more transparent wines, that don't attempt to camoflauge or manufacture makeovers of what the grapes and land have to say. Again a hope and prayer, but also a somewhat confident prediction....

Reply by bryanjmatthews, Jan 21, 2010.

Future wines will be screw-cap and/or using alternative packaging. Boxed fine wines are coming!

Reply by zufrieden, Jan 21, 2010.

Something that cannot come quickly enough for me is a return to the appreciation of thousands of years of experience in the selection of grapes, land and vineyard management that show in the traditional (fine) wines of France, Italy and Germany. Many of the comments about New World fruit-bombs with their (sometimes) heavy-handed, high-alcohol content reflect a kind of indirect rejection of modern "scientific" wine-making practices.

Take the United States, for example. The American "can do" attitude is connected closely to the idea that we can re-shape nature to suit whimsy in taste. Why make a subdued but wonderful claret in the Bordeaux mold when bigger and better is to be obtained through careful oenological research? Then mix in the artsy flavor of Hollywood or NYC and you've got a movement on!

I think this race is run and that there will be a return to more traditional, artful ways of producing wine - if only with screw-caps. This will also be boosted by interest in things "organic"...

As for global-warming, we already see the effects of this in British Columbia, Ontario, Ohio, New York and yes - even Michigan and Wisconsin. This may put a damper on boutique ice-wine production (much of which ends up in China and Japan) but the future may now point to Burgundian and Bordeaux style reds. The problem at the moment is limited production, but the rapid pace of improvement is astounding - just as it was in California. Not so very long ago, California produced few wines worthy of mention.

These are the trends. I see wine returning to its rightful place as a food accompaniment and leaving the role of aperitif to other more suitable beverages. Wine as a casual drink required condescension to the pedestrian palate (vanilla oak, superficially attractive fruitiness and straight-forward lack of complexity) only taken to major league heights.

This is not to say I dislike powerful, Parker-driven fruit-bombs; I just don't see them as particularly subtle. They are far from tradition and I happen to like tradition notwithstanding the fact that I am a New World native.

Reply by dirkwdeyoung, Jan 21, 2010.

For me by the time you are putting a screw cap, you might as well be putting it in a sack in a box as well. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I think the market potential for an interesting and acceptable wine to drink in a box, esp. bright, crisp and fruity white wines and refreshing roses, a la white zinf will be huge. It wouldn't surprise me if this is more and more the case with increasing quality in these mass produced wines and then another tier in the market that would involve higher and higher priced boutique wines, which are to a great extent represented by an old guard, but will include more and more new entrants into the high priced segments. I think the younger consumer is more accepting of new experiments in wine flavoring and isn't thinking about waiting for years to open a bottle. The traditional cellar strategy was to have wines to drink and wines to save. I am not sure if the modern, mobile generation will adopt this approach. I expect and I hope that the trend of wine bars and other such creative locales where wine is the drink of choice of an affluent and powerful younger generation will continue to expand and become a very large outlet for a vast variety of wines and wine experiences.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jan 22, 2010.

I'll agree with Eric, 10 years is not too far in the future. DM -- I also appreciate your comments about online wine shopping. I think there's a lot of room for that to get shaken up in the coming years. The market will shift, and a lot of people are hoping it will expand. Easy access to good information online will help that along by enabling shoppers to feel more confident in their decisions. The online shopper is not afraid to do his/her homework before making a purchasing decision.

Looking back at the beginning of the thread, it would appear I've had a long day. It might be time for me to knock off for the evening.

Reply by amour, Jan 22, 2010.

Wine bars offering interesting wines from around the world,
and interesting pairings with some Molecular Gastronomy items
will be one of my mega-trend projections.
In London, England,and across the world, wine bars have been
increasing rapidly over the last 20 years.

France will remain important. There will be great appeal for
France as young Chinese, Japanese, Indians,
and others start exploring the world of wine at a younger
age. The French will develop more aggresive marketing
strategies as we are seeing in Cahors momentarily...
(the effort to take back the Malbec from Argentina,
so to speak, and capitalising on the sensuous appeal of
deep black secrets to the affluent and not-affluent young
alike....Cahors is black...Cahors is Malbec...The Black Wine
of Lot.....Malbec is native to Cahors......just one current example,
to support the point).

Reply by amour, Jan 22, 2010.

Good quality wine is a body-building food, a dietary complement, a supporting therapy,
a chemical conveyor of natural products and a great psychic tonic.

These ancient points will be revived in the future
and widely promoted to new generations from a very early age.

Wine consumption will increase.

Wines from several new regions will become popular.
New wineries are springing up everywhere (almost).
There are three wineries in NAMIBIA, Africa.
Did you know?

Reply by Charles Emilio, Jan 22, 2010.

A few thoughts...

I can see a big change in the distribution of wine( and this is already hapening).
Many of the middlemen are ging to be cut out and we will see more wines being distributed directly from the winery to the retail outlet.

Will this bring us cheaper prices or higher margins to the retailer, I dont know?

China and India are ging to boom in their wine consumption in the next 10 years. A big majority of this consumption will be cheap and low quality.


A whole new generation of people are going to start consuming wine in the next decade..Will these new drinkers start out sophisticated or develop their palates over time.. I suspect the former and therefor I expect their to be a market for what someone already described - "easy drinking" wines.

...Pleasure and Discovery...

Reply by amour, Jan 22, 2010.

So interesting...
We all look forward to seeing these trends unfold one way or the other !

Reply by Vigna, Jan 23, 2010.

This is so helpful! 2 other points:
1)there is, we all know, a global trend (Slow Food docet) that says: we have to eat local (sustainable) food. What about wine? do we have to be patriotic? do you see the "drink local" a possible trend in the future?
2) Who will guide our choises in wine? Wine critic - in a "parker way" - will survive?

Reply by amour, Jan 23, 2010.

Drink local ...yes.....Americans will support USA wines (you saw how Wine Spectator
pushed Washington State to the very top of the chart in 2009).....
there is a big message there!
But Americans will always be interested in other wines....They will follow France ....for the snob
effect and other countries for the excitement of the search and the bargain as well!

Reply by amour, Jan 23, 2010.

As the average person becomes more aware
of wines and more properly educated on wines
you would find that individuals will ultimately decide.

Already, many are not influenced by Parker as much
as previously.
By the way, more people from all countries would study
wine courses and beyond in a serious way, both for
pleasure and business possibilities.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 23, 2010.

1) Barring some apocalypse, 'drink local' will never gain the traction that 'eat local' will, IMHO. There are several driving forces behind eating local. The most publicized is the political stance of lessening carbon imprint. But in addition there is the fact that most local food is fresher and tastier, as well as the fact that it's often easier to learn growing and processing facts (whether organic or whatever else) about food in one's neighborhood rather than food that's shipped from however far away. Most of the world doesn't even have wine grapes growing nearby, much less wine being made that tastes good. Nor is freshness the issue it is with produce. Even in the epicenter of the slowfood movement of Northern California, where some of the best wine in the world is made, you'll see plenty of wine from overseas being consumed in some of the most committed restaurants and households espousing that principle. Then there is also the problem of alcohol processing and distributing laws to further retard any such movement. Unless you want to think of hillbillies making White Lightning as the true precursors of a 'drink local' movement... ;-)

2) With more new drinkers coming into the market, and more people making wine in more locations, and thus pertinent info regarding wine continuing to explode exponentially, guidance regarding what's out there to drink, and what any discerning drinker might want to drink, will continue to be valued. It's hard to imagine that any single new wine guru will gain the clout that Robert Parker has, but you'll still see plenty of wine raters at large sites (even Snooth's GDP ;-) ), and as many winebloggers as mushrooms after a rain. Enlightened drinkers will not necessarily be swayed as much by points that any rater gives a wine, but there's just too much wine out there for any single person to be able to know what wine from wherever is offering which characteristics and level of quality during whatever vintage. So even they will likely read wine reviews...

Reply by zufrieden, Jan 23, 2010.

Drinking local is already a trend in regions where production is limited and pride is unlimited. Countries new to the quality wine game consume the bulk of well-crafted wines in their home regions. This is especially true if the region has a sufficiently high mean income to sustain boutique-style production. The wine industry in my home Province of British Columbia in Canada now produces wines of sufficiently high quality - although the buyer must still (as elsewhere) make prudent selections. Since supply is very limited ( less than 3,000 hectares under vine), the highest quality wine is distributed quickly to the best Vancouver restaurants and to a few lucky others. I therefore suggest that local is very "in" - just as it is becoming so in Europe - at least, from my observation there of late.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 23, 2010.

I wasn't talking about wine patriotism, as has *always* been the case in Europe. Since ante-diluvian times it's been pretty hard to find any range of non-French wines on winelists in France (and any quantity of good-quality non-French food in eateries, for that matter)--not only in the winemaking regions but in cities, as well. Similar case in the areas of Italy and Germany I've visited. Certainly there are many restaurants in Northern California that specialize in local wines, and ditto for Vancouver and elsewhere. But the range and degree of emphasis on localization is still not the same for wine as it is for food. I know many people in the San Fran area who are *extremely* serious about local food sourcing (even to the tune of regularly scouring their urban neighborhoods for fruit trees and the like that aren't being harvested by their owners), but who still feed their guilt-causing jones for good wines from afar. Ditto for Vancouer city and island and environs. My prediction is that 'drink local' will not ever take off to the extent that 'eat local' does....

I've commented on the lack of good global winelists in Europe before, in this thread:

Reply by zufrieden, Jan 24, 2010.

I realize that trumpeting the local juice is quite normal - especially in established wine regions like France and Italy (for example, you have such a vast lake of Italian country wines that it would be indeed surprising to find wines from beyond the frontiers - except in the best, international-style restaurants in resorts and major centers).

It is devilishly difficult to be crystal clear in these short forum replies, but I'll take another stab at clarifying my own position. What I intended to say was that, in regions that have a small but growing production, there is a very strong and growing interest in local wine - so much so in fact that local selections are often prominently advertised on wine lists of local restaurants. But these selections necessarily remain small in number next to foreign offerings. And in my opinion, the main reason foreign wines still tend to predominate on most wine lists in the USA and Canada (but not quite as much in Argentina or Chile) is (1) we have a relatively short history of being interested in and consuming fine wines on a daily basis, (2) the outside world still makes a lot more juice than we do and has been doing so with panache for millennia and (3) restaurants serving ethnic fare want to present an authentic accompaniment to their food. Moreover, supply is often limited and likely to remain so for some time to come.

Perhaps more significantly, we traditionally looked to Europe for guidance on quality and style until production began to ramp up at home following the Second World War. For this reason (and others too numerous to mention) I believe North American restaurants will always have a large section of the wine list devoted to foreign juice offerings.

That is, as you rightly say, a much different situation than in much of France or Italy.

Still, it is worth mentioning that 25 years ago it was rare to find a Canadian wine on the wine list of a major Canadian restaurant. Now that "serious" wine is being made, it has become chic to offer the cream of the local crop and prominently advertise it. But to reiterate: this is not to say that Canadian wines - however fine - are likely to dominate any Canadian wine list in the near future.

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 25, 2010.

I have to admit, I did jump to the end of this thread and did not read through all the posts so I do apologize if someone already wrote about this. For me, I would suspect that in 10 years we many not all be drinking this but we will see a lot more of it ... and it ... is wine from China! Yes, I said it. China is one of the biggest land masses with a huge diversity in climates many of which rival the great grape growing regions of the world. While they _might_ not be the producers of super-high end wines, they may very well be the next Yellow Tail or Gallo.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 25, 2010.

Hey John, do read through the entire thread. It is, IMHO, worth it, and incidentally I do talk a little about the China factor... ;-)

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