Schrader: A look at what’s trending with wine in 2013
It’s hard to believe that we are a month into a new year already. The good crystal is put away from the holidays and we are back to drinking wine out of our “everyday” wine glasses, at least in my household.
The wine industry folk are predicting what will become of 2013, as people are speculating that wine consumption will continue to rise in the United States. Without a doubt, wine is the new black; it’s versatile, can be dressed up with accessories (food), and won’t be going out of style anytime soon.
There are several trends that I and others in the industry see taking shape. Some may surprise you. I hope my crystal ball is right.
1. Wine Education. More than ever, people are interested in learning about wine. Maybe not down to the specifics of the strain of yeast used for fermentation, but people like to know what they are drinking, where it comes from and how the soils and climate affect the taste of their wines.
I don’t know about your email inbox, but mine has been exploding with new year’s steals and deals: discounted beach body boot camp classes (no thanks), vacations to exotic islands (tempting), and wine tastings galore (yes, please!). Look on Living Social and Groupon for wine tastings and wine education classes to attend. These classes are casual, fun and informative with samplings of different wine varietals and cheese pairings.
Check out the fun wine school that starts in February at The Village Cellar Wine Shop and Wine Bar in downtown Hinsdale at www.thevillagecellarhinsdale.com.
2. Points are going out of style. I have never written about wine scores and points. That’s because I generally don’t concern myself with them; you know, the wines that score 98 points from magazines that promise to be the best wine of the year. I respect these opinions, but my philosophy is simple. You either like the wine, or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if it scores big on the rating system if it doesn’t please your palette.
While baby boomers tend to stick with wines they know and sources they are familiar with — Wine Spectator, wine critics, etc. — Millennials are getting their wine information elsewhere, from friends, store clerks and various online resources, such as wine blogs. The younger wine consumers are more willing to try new varietals from unique places and are not necessarily concerned with the point system. By the way, I recently tried a fantastic Pinotage from South Africa.
3. Craft beer brewing. It’s hard to miss all of the microbrews that are popping up around the Chicago area. Younger consumers are interested in beers that have complex flavors and taste good. With the perceived perception that craft beers are relatively inexpensive for the quality, the craft brewing market is going to put up a good fight with the wine industry and the macro brewing industry.
4. Shorter wine lists. Hallelujah! Have you ever sat down at a restaurant and taken a look at the wine list which seemed as if it was divided into several volumes? It’s a lot to take in visually and mentally. But now, sommeliers across the country are reducing their wine lists for economic reasons and to make wine more friendly and personalized with food pairings.
5. Sweet wines. Mom, you’ll love this one. Be on the lookout for an increase in popularity in sweet red wines and Moscato. Moscato will likely replace the dwindling white zinfandel, since consumers new to wine typically trend towards lighter bodied and sweet wines to develop their palette.
Moscato is a beautiful white wine with arousing perfume-like aromatics and spritzy fruit flavors. It also tends to be lower in alcohol content. This wine pairs well with desserts, charcuterie and salads.
Let’s all raise our glass to a healthy and prosperous year, filled with wine. If you typically don’t drink wine, you should give it a try or sign up for a wine class to learn more about it. There are always the craft beers that are brewing up around the Chicago area to try as well.
Happy 2013. Cheers!
Caroline Schrader is a wine writer and wine consultant serving the Chicago area. Find her on Facebook and visit carolineschrader.com.