Experts Predict 2016’s Biggest Wine and Beverage Trends

Experts Predict 2016’s Biggest Wine and Beverage Trends

Like clockwork, industry experts are charting the year’s big trends, predicting potential changes throughout the wine, beer and spirits world. Here are some trends worth noting.

Bloomberg critic Elin McCoy sees a bright year ahead for wine, despite strength in competing segments such as craft beer and craft cider. She also sees these coming trends:

1) Continued impact of climate change
2) New technologies such as smartphone price-checking apps
3) Global appreciation for English sparkling wines
4) Natural wines go mainstream
5) Cabernet Franc as this year’s hot trending variety
6) Barolo and Barbaresco will heat up auctions
7) Super-expensive luxury wine tours are coming
8) More and better wine by the glass programs, thanks to Coravin
9) Wine trucks alongside food trucks
10) And still more celebrity wine labels

Trouble In Somm-land?

Levi Dalton, host of podcast I’ll Drink to That and Eater’s wine editor, lays out a number of reasons that the importance and influence of New York City somms may soon decline. Among them, no tipping policies; easy-drinking wines such as Prosecco and dry rosés that need no special expertise; a lack of transparency when somms promote their own and their friends’ wines; the growth in direct-to-consumer sales; the rise in online wine forums and apps; and more competition for a limited number of jobs with stagnant wages. Dalton’s conclusion?

“The real issue for sommeliers is that journalists are more naturally suited to finding and spreading the news about what is new. Sommeliers speak to a limited set of people each shift. Journalist audiences are multiples of that size. And journalists have more opportunities to travel and make new discoveries than sommeliers who have to work the floor each night. The old hierarchy of writers dictating to sommeliers what they should be interested in has returned, this time focused on the new. And sommelier autonomy has diminished as a result.”

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