Wine trends for 2018: Cans, kegs and more

We need to get over the stigma of box wine as cheap plonk, it’s bet­ter, hand­ier

The Hamilton Spectator - - STYLE - DAVE MCIN­TYRE The Washington Post

This is the time of year when wine writ­ers, ex­hausted from writ­ing hol­i­day bot­tle and gift rec­om­men­da­tions, slump for­ward and peer into our navels to pre­dict trends for the com­ing year. Here’s my take :

Pack­ag­ing

We can ex­pect more wines in kegs, boxes and cans rather than the tra­di­tional bot­tles. Not that bot­tles will be tossed away, by any means. The al­ter­na­tives are a small per­cent­age of the mar­ket, but that per­cent­age will con­tinue to grow as bet­ter wines be­come avail­able in these for­mats.

Kegs are ideal for restau­rants and by-the­glass pro­grams. They keep wine fresh, avoid­ing the “when was this bot­tle opened?” prob­lem. They are ideal for carafes or half carafes, or the three-ounce taste in­stead of the sixounce glass. Winer­ies and restau­rants have been danc­ing a del­i­cate Kabuki around sup­ply vs. de­mand, but as bet­ter wines be­come avail­able in con­ve­nient for­mats, we should be see­ing more wine in kegs. Mid-level restau­rants should be an ideal mar­ket for this for­mat. Ca­sual lo­cal restau­rants or chains can of­fer bet­ter, fresher by-the-glass op­tions with­out much ad­di­tional cost, while of­fer­ing a sus­tain­able mar­ket for winer­ies with enough wine to of­fer in kegs.

Cans and boxes are for con­sumers. Box wines still have a neg­a­tive stigma as be­ing cheap plonk. But if you have a favourite Côtes du Rhône you reg­u­larly buy as your house red at $12, wouldn’t you like to have a three-litre box of the same wine at $30, which works out to $7.50 per bot­tle? We need to get over the stigma of box wine. It’s also great for par­ties, tail­gates, beach gath­er­ings and other oc­ca­sions — as long as the wine is good.

Cans also have a con­ve­nience ad­van­tage. They’re great for pic­nics, beach or park out­ings, or just when you want a lit­tle bit of wine, but not a whole bot­tle. They’re also eas­ier on the en­vi­ron­ment, with less of a car­bon foot­print than a glass bot­tle, and eas­ier to re­cy­cle or dis­pose. And they are ca­sual, which will fit in with the mar­ket­ing of wine as an ev­ery­day tip­ple, rather than a stuffy drink for the elite.

Un­ex­pected wines

We know wine regions for cer­tain wines. Ar­gentina for mal­bec, Ore­gon for Pinot noir, and New Zealand for Sauvi­gnon Blanc and Pinot Noir. But these three regions also pro­duce ex­cep­tional chardonnay. We know Chile for Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, Mer­lot and per­haps Carmenere, but it also pro­duces some great Sauvi­gnon Blanc and Carig­nan. Aus­tralia means Shi­raz, but Ries­ling and Pinot Noir are also ex­cit­ing. And South Africa is send­ing us some won­der­ful old-vine Chenin Blanc and Shi­raz. I want to see more of these.

As wine­mak­ing con­tin­ues to im­prove around the world, we will see great val­ues emerge from un­ex­pected places. Re­cent years have seen de­li­cious, in­ex­pen­sive wines from Bul­garia and Turkey. Look for more bar­gains from Moldova and Ar­me­nia.

Nat­u­ral wines

These un­con­ven­tional, min­i­mal­ist wines are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly main­stream. We will see more of them on re­tail shelves and restau­rant wine lists as distri­bu­tion ex­pands be­yond the big cities.

There will be more pétil­lant-na­turel, or pet-nat, wines be­fore this fad fades. These wines are the dar­lings of mil­len­ni­als, som­me­liers and wine­mak­ers, and they are tasty. But will con­sumers con­tinue to ac­cept them as more than a nov­elty at $20 to $30, when more clas­sic sparkling wines are avail­able?

Ur­ban winer­ies

Winer­ies have moved off the farm and into the city. This started per­haps in 2008 with City Win­ery in New York City, the brain­child of music im­pre­sario Michael Dorf. Though City Win­ery fea­tured bar­rels in its din­ing room, it was more a din­ing and con­cert venue than a win­ery. The con­cept has since spread to Chicago, At­lanta, Bos­ton and Nashville, Ten­nessee. A new lo­ca­tion is open­ing in Washington. District Win­ery in Washington, an off­shoot of New York’s Brook­lyn Win­ery.

GO­RAN KOSANOVIC, FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Ex­pect to see more — and bet­ter — wine in boxes, cans and kegs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.