The Latest Drinks Trends

Posted: Oct 03, 2019

This year 2019 has been a benchmark year in terms of defining new trends for the wine and spirits business and their products. Millennials continue to try to think and drink healthy and clean. They are looking for low alcohol and no-alcohol alternatives, so hard seltzer has come on the radar fast and furiously.

Global warming is changing the wine production map as we know it: some of the best sparkling wines are being produced in the Southern United Kingdom. Rosé remains hot and great value wines are popping up in both South Africa and Portugal.

So I had an in-depth chat with Paul Mabray, the CEO of the Napa-based—a consumer insight service for the wine industry—who shared some of his perspective on what has happened in the wine in spirits industry over the last year.

Liza B. Zimmerman (LBZ): Why are hard seltzers so popular?

Paul Mabray (PM): Hard seltzers have capitalized on both the healthy trend, and new flavor profiles, but especially social media and digital marketing. This helped them cross the gender barrier [to male consumers] that many of the other adult beverages as of yet failed to do.

LBZ: What types of grape varietals are hot and why?

I think we are going to see more and more blends emerging over the next few years. The lower tier (of wine producers) understands that non-appellated wine sells and they can create wines that meet consumers' expectations. This has also been true for even higher-priced wines, such as The Prisoner.

LBZ: How is global warming changing the wine production map?

PM: Without question, it has become harder to make traditional styles of wine in known regions. At the same time it allows new regions to emerge: such as English sparkling wine.

The wine industry is in touch with is the land and it is really embracing climate change so it will look hard to find the answers about new ways make new ways to grow traditional grapes or adopt new varieties. It's both an exciting and scary time.

LBZ: Are consumers spending more or less on wine and why?

PM: There is no question we are still in an era of premiumization, although it is slowing and is susceptible to a recession. The question is where is the new floor for "fine wine,” as well as where is the median and where is the top.

By Liza B. Zimmerman
October 1, 2019
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