As with any food or beverage, wine has had its fair share of trends over the centuries. New technologies are playing a role in some of these trends. It’s also important to note that more people than ever before are drinking the more expensive wines. How will wine change this year? How will trends and new technology affect wine catering?
Here is an overview of some of the ways the wine world is changing:
Natural wines are going mainstream. They are no longer just for a small purist fringe. “Natural” wine is attracting a wider audience, particularly in trendy restaurants. Natural wine bars are building established in not only big cities, but rural areas as well. Consumers are moving toward artisanal products; additionally, the quality of natural wines has improved in recent years.
Italy is replacing Burgundy. While Burgundy wine is still hot, the cost is going up. Italian red wines like Sassicaia and Ornellaia are bargains in comparison. Wine is Italy’s top export and growing in the North American market. Some experts predict a large amount of growth in the lesser known Southern regions of Italy, including Calabria, Puglia, Campania, Sicily, etc.
The wine-by-the-glass trend is only expected to grow more in the coming months. Curious consumers are interested in trying out new wines, but don’t want to spend a fortune on bottles. This trend also offers an economic solution for the average Toronto caterer who serves a lot of wine at events.
English sparkling wine is expected to take off, as the global consciousness of its quality grows. The increasing popularity has fuelled a rush to develop vineyards in the UK, with the applications nearly doubling each year. It all started when Tattinger, the French Champagne house, made the announcement that it would be producing sparkling wine in Kent. Expect other French companies to follow suit.
Cabernet Franc will continue being the “it” grape. While there are other exotic varieties, cab franc is the most popular. It’s a highly versatile grape that makes elegant, fragrant wines – particularly blended grape, full-bodied Bordeaux wines, where it adds herbaceous accents of dark spice and tobacco. If you want to serve wine at a catering event, cab franc is one of your best choices this year.
Another trend to watch out for is the “celebrity wine” category. It’s expected to expand this year, as more wines begin to carry celebrity-related labels. The list of celebrities associated with wines and wineries is extensive. How they are involved varies to some degree. Some public figures actually own their own wineries, and some partner or collaborate with existing wineries and vineyards. It’s not just in the US and France, either: after working with head winemaker of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits, Tom Green, actor Dan Akroyd launched a line of wines in Ontario in 2007.
The gadget Coravin is really popular these days. It allows you to extract wine from a bottle without having to remove the cork, while simultaneously inserting inert argon gas in the space left by the extracted wine to prevent oxidation in the bottle. It’s a good idea to have this gadget on hand at any wine catering event.