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Wine Trends for 2010

I have a cold this week and haven’t had a chance to taste much wine – still drinking it, just not tasting it. So instead, I’m taking the opportunity to look at some of the biggest trends in the wine industry this year.

A recent survey by market research firm Mintel reveals that 58% of Americans drink wine with dinner on a regular basis. The survey also says the wine market has grown by 20% between 2004 and 2009, even through the recession. There was a slight decline in 2008 at the peak of the economic turmoil, but Mintel forecasts the industry will grow slightly in 2009, and I’ll take a wild guess and say it will surge ahead even more in 2010.

Americans and Canadians still love their wine drinking, but the recession - and a new breed of younger-generation wine drinkers - may have ushered in some new trends:

Younger Generation Leading Growth

Baby Boomers are no longer driving the wine market – the next generation of young wine drinkers account for 45% of the growth. http://millennialmarketing.com/2009/05/millennial-wave-hits-wine/

Wine Clubs
Younger wine drinkers – those in the 25-34 age group – are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to belong to the wine club. This could partly explain the rapid growth of wine clubs across North America.

Sophisticated Palettes
That same group that’s driving the wine market now are pickier than the average adult when it comes to wine. A Merrill research study found that 40% of younger wine drinkers say expensive wine tastes better, and that same percentage will also spend $40 on a bottle of wine for a special occasion, compared to $24 for all adults.

Whimsical Labelling
If you cringe at the sight of animals on wine labels and groan at ironic names like Cats Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, Hair of Dingo, Ceci n’est pas un Carignan and Utter Bastard, get ready for more of the same. This type of marketing is working and will likely become even more rampant.

In the Box
It hasn’t yet pulled out of the “cheap” status, but more people are buying boxed wine to drink at home, even if they’re too embarrassed to serve it to their guests. Clever marketing could help bring boxed wine out of the closet.

Outside the Box
Wine bars (in my hometown of Toronto, anyway) are now in heavy competition and are serving audacious selections to set themselves apart. The smaller wine bars that only have 10 or 15 options are choosing interesting varietals from lesser-known regions. This can misfire if the oddball wines don’t taste good (as I have discovered), but a good selection of off-the-beaten-path bottles does make a place stand out.

A Little More Sparkle
As more producers outside of Champagne produce sparking wine, people are discovering that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to enjoy the bubbly. I’ve been touting the joys of Prosecco, Cava, Cremant, American and Canadian sparkling wine and others on this blog for years.


“Wine Trends for 2010”