Wine trends in unpredictable times

Wine tends to be associated with tradition and ceremony. However, if the surge in the production of canned wine has taught us one thing, it’s how firmly the wine industry and wine consumers can embrace a trend. While it often regards trends with caution, the wine industry continues to adapt to market influences on vessels, varietals and viticulture.

Carina Gouws began her tenure as executive manager of marketing and sales at Kleine Zalze Wine Estate on 1 February 2020. Kleine Zalze is renowned for innovation in the Premium Wine category, led by winery cellarmaster Alastair Rimmer. Carina formerly served as brand director for Distell’s portfolio of Premium Wine and Spirits and previously held the position of business director: wine segment. At the end of 2017, she was appointed as non-executive chairperson at Wines of South Africa (WOSA), the South African wine industry’s export promotions organisation. Here, she shares her thoughts on wine trends.

1. Trends are cyclical

Carina says: “Currently, consumers are looking for wines, but also products in general that are healthier, sustainable, environmentally friendly, give back to society and support their own lifestyle and philosophy.”

While the cellar team at Kleine Zalze have become partial to amphora, an ancient winemaking method, Carina says that the emphasis is on balance, freshness, complexity and richness in texture. She says: “We evaluated several techniques over time and we kept coming back to the wines that were fermented in our amphoras. Somehow it does add a different dimension. Overall, this affirmed that we need to keep our focus on the vineyards and keep our winemaking simple and let the purity of the fruit shine through.”

2. Rosé all day 

In 2015, Provençal-style rosé turned the world pink. T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “rosé all day” lit up the world like a California sunrise.

Carina says that the thirst for rosé and sparkling wine has been a dominant trend for 15 years.

“The latest trends are healthier and sustainable living, which includes lower and no-alcohol, vegan wine, natural, orange and organic wine and the move to more premium wine. The trends that pose the biggest threat to wine are the cocktail trend, probably led by the gin explosion and the growth of hard seltzers in key international wine markets,” she imparts.

ALSO READ: Why rosé is the perfect summer wine

3. Gourmands and glassware

Carina says that the wine experience is enhanced by high-quality glassware.

Perhaps the sight of Alicia Florick on The Good Fight or Olivia Pope on The Fixer has moved the at-home-wine consumer to reconsider the size and quality of her wine vessel. Television shows have influenced how we drink wine at home, as well as how we dine. With entire channels dedicated to mouthwatering gourmet cooking, diners are emboldened to pair their home-cooked meals with sensational wine.

Carina says: “Pairing wine with food is an ancient ritual. Wine was already part of daily life in biblical times and is the most common alcoholic beverage mentioned in biblical literature and very often mentioned with food. Today, pairing great wine with a special dish where the whole becomes a different and enhanced experience compared to the two separate parts on their own remains the ultimate gastronomic treat.”

wine vessel

4. Can’t scroll past

While video killed the radio star, the internet has revolutionised how consumers connect with wine, beyond traditional media. Carina says: “Social media offers a way to share quite detailed information in an engaging way to wine interested consumers. Wine is about lifestyle and content and the internet and social media provides amazing tools for this.”

ALSO READ: 5 trends that will dominate the SA drinks scene in 2020