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Demystification and democratisation initiatives will allow the wine category to breathe and venture out of its stuffy cellar of complacency and stiff traditionalism. Grape varietals, terroir, appellations and unpronounceable chateaux will take a back seat to an over-reaching narrative providing more casual yet emotional undertones to brand equity. The belated appropriation of the micro-movement’s buzzwords will see the rise of rebellious and irreverent stories, along with leftfield terminology and labelling at the same time that cult, niche and boutique credentials will tackle Millennial drinkers’ promiscuity and demand for adventurous propositions.
Irreverently questioning the once biblical power of professional critics’ gospels will allow the collective mind to step into the virtual vacuum. The defiant rise of non-sommelier driven categories like Prosecco, coinciding with a backlash towards the industry’s elitist bias and historically-patronising tone will provide the wine must for new, more interactive and crowd-sourced ways to discuss, review and recommend. Social media influencers and gatekeepers will hence become the new sommeliers, apps featuring tasting note archives will add a layer of interactivity and objectivity to the scoring process, while disruptive start-ups will provide access to curated membership subscriptions, allowing for personalised offerings.
The impressive resilience of Fair Trade offerings, valiantly defending their positioning and price point against the acidic aftertaste of macroeconomic headwinds, will highlight the importance of the industry’s ethical credentials even further. Natural and biodynamic wines will also witness further growth momentum as lower manipulation attributes gain traction. Orange wine will continue taking share of mind, occasions and column inches as it enters the mainstream alongside English sparkling wines,which have already crossed the Rubicon of respectability. Wine on tap and in kegs will radically expand occasions and drinking rituals, as it takes over metropolitan trend-setting venues. Meanwhile, irreverent serves – Port over ice, fruit-forward, off-dry and even mixable Champagnes – will provide much-needed undertones of creative controversy.