Grape expectations: What’s in 2018’s cellar?

person unscrewing bottle of wine

The echoes have faded from NYE’s popping champagne corks. January is proving to be colder than a Prosecco ice bucket. What to do? Two things: first, check out the upcoming Chief Wine Officer events calendar. Second, join us on a vinicultural voyage, as we see what to expect during 2018:

  • Big to be better

In 2017 Majestic reported a 378% year-on-year increase in sales of super-sized wine bottles. Meanwhile, retailers such as Lidl hit the headlines for their champagne and prosecco magnums. Expect this trend to continue throughout 2018. Not only are larger bottles a great way to add a sense of occasion, they’re also better for your wine. That’s because one larger size has a lower % of air (between the cork and the wine) compared to two or more standard bottles.

  • Climate change opens new markets

Been a guest at a Chief Wine Officer event? If so, you’ll know the wine theme helps shape the pleasure we mix with the business. Often this is inspired by a particular region: France v Italy or Old World v New World. Expect a rise in lesser-known regions, thanks to record-breaking climate change. For example, rising temperatures in Japan have led to a four-fold growth in Pinot Noir grapes ove r the past five years.

  • Vegan wines on the rise

Traditionally, improving wine colour, flavour and texture usually involved animal-based products, such as gelatine, milk, or egg white. However, the rise in veganism (in the UK, by 5 times since 2006) has reportedly has caused a rethink. The Co-Op has been working with partners to develop ‘vegan’ ways of filtering wine, and plans to stock 100+ types of vegan wine. This rise in environmentally conscious drinking is also evident in a reported boom in sales of organic wine. According to Waitrose, “Organic wine is a growing trend globally and we have seen sales increase by 16% in the last year”.

  • Wine shapeshifting to increase

The rise in takeaway ‘grab-and-go’ culture has transformed the way food is packaged. That’s not the case for wine, where bottles still reign supreme. However, this will change in 2018. Witness the rise of the ‘bagnum’. Boxed wine is great for pouring – in the park or on the dining table. Using this kind of packaging for wines, instead of heavy glass bottles, makes a lot of sense,’ explains Tom Craven, founder of Vinnaturo, a specialist in sustainably packaged boxed wines. ‘It can reduce C02 emissions generated through transport by 80 per cent, and also reduce the final retail price of the wine by 30 per cent.’

  • Quality not quantity

The 2017–18 wine harvest is estimated to be 14% lower than the previous year. This drop spans many of the ‘Old World’ countries: France, Italy and Spain, where unusual weather patterns have taken their toll. For some wine consumers, this raises the prospect of a price increase. However, for Chief Wine Officer events this no problem. Our world-renowned experts are guaranteed to keep the supply of splendid wines coming thick and fast. From traditional regions, alongside up-and-coming areas.