A few things happen chez moi every January. I throw away all leftover Christmas cookies, lock the cellar (this is short lived) and purge my house of all signs of anything delicious. Beyond that, the post-holiday haze also comes with some trends forecasting. Well, tick tock, it’s time for my super sweet, wine trends list for the year, inspired by some wine pals across cyberspace:
1. Bubbles Beyond Champagne
According to several top sources, Americans’ insatiable demand for bubbly will expand increasingly beyond Champagne into other sparkling production areas, such as France’s Loire Valley and Italy’s Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (think Prosecco). On Wine-Searcher, Tyler Colman quoted Patrice Cappiello, Wine Director of popular NYC restaurant, Pearl & Ash, predicting the rise of other kinds of bubbly given the rising popularity and sourcing difficulty of “grower Champagne.” W.R. Tish of Beverage Media also predicts a continued rise in demand of Prosecco, siting increased quality and consistency. For any other bubble lovers who went a little overboard on Cyber Monday this past year, this will come as welcome news.
2. Drink Local and The Other 46
When I first moved to Virginia wine country, I would fly into a rage every time I went into self-proclaimed “eat local” restaurant that carried an all California wine list. Would this ever happen in Napa?! I am psyched out of my mind to report an increasing number of local restaurants in Virginia chanting the “drink local” mantra. It’s about time. Dave McIntyre of the The Washington Post has noticed something similar in Washington, D.C. for Virginia and Maryland wines. Similar trends are popping up in New York, Texas, New Mexico and beyond. And according to Hop & Wine, “we’re seeing a growing emphasis on cultivating local grape varieties.”
3. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s…SUPER SOMM!
Among a certain sect of wine lovers, the all-powerful wine rating is receiving some healthy competition from a group of influential, power sommeliers. As demonstrated by last year’s well-received documentary Somm, and noted in this year’s trends forecasting by both Tyler Colman and W.R. Tish, there is a rise in influence of top sommeliers, such as Rajat Parr, Alpana Singh, Robert Bohr and Patrick Cappiello. 2014 will see an increasing number of sommelier-owners of top establishments, creating a nice balance in the wine opinion ecosphere and beyond.
Interestingly, what unites these three trends? Looks like 2014 is the year of diversity and choice for U.S. consumers, and that my friend, is good news. Happy New Year, y’all.