Question: What is the hot wine trend so far in 2021?
Answer: Your scribe is not a big follower of wine trends. They may be interesting but too often are just PR marketing moves to try and sell more commercial wine. Still there seems to be a growing interest this year by consumers from a big fruit driven beverage to a drier, less sweet, fresh, lower alcohol style of wines with a better acidity balance. I think this is a good thing or an encouraging trend. Yesterday VinePair featured: “Pucker Up: With Sour Flavors Trending in Beer and Cocktails, What’s Next For Wine?“. They suggested wines with higher acidity like Albarino & Chablis plus lower dosage bubbles and even mead will be the ticket. Also something that is a bit “funky” stands out as well. Perhaps this is a trend to watch out for!
As we all know one of the few good things to develop out of this continuing pandemic are webinars. What a plethora of information now is out there for everyone on wines from around the world. For the blossoming Canadian wine industry this is good news. They reached a much wider audience on March 23 @HarpersWine in the UK with an interesting overview on Canadian wine that can be seen above.
The panel included Janet Dorozynski @WineTrackMind & Dr. Jamie Goode @jamiegoode plus other wine trade from the UK of Andrew Catchpole Harper’s editor, Sarah Knowles MW The Wine Society, David Gleave MW Liberty Wines, Nik Darlington Grat Wine Co, and Ben Franks Novel Wines. They tasted a variety of Canadian wines listed there from Niagara and the Okanagan. The historical start was Icewine but the current focus was riesling but mainly chardonnay, pinot noir and increasingly popular #GoGamayGo. There was general agreement that “Brand Canada” has goodwill in the UK with a “trust currency” and “emotional attachment” for their overall high quality standards of “remarkable wine” for taking that leap of faith. Lots of admiration for the “clean purity of fruit”, “brightness” with “good acidity” and “freshness”. However the main question seemed to be can they sell? Certainly are doing well in the domestic market of BC & Ontario. However, presently with so many good wines from around the world competing for space on international wine lists it has become a most difficult export wine market. Many great wines are universal at 50+ pounds a bottle but must find customers at around 19.99. At that level there are strong rivals for Canadian chardonnay with French Chablis and Kumeu River from New Zealand. They like the excellent Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 from Le Clos Jordanne but 38 (2016 Checkmate Queen Taken 75) while classy 2018 Charles Baker Riesling PIcone Vineyards retails at a better 22 (2018 Henry of Pelham Reserve competitive 15.95). Similarly for the Canadian reds competing against Chianti Classico and Oregon among others for Pinot Noirs like MIssion Hill Reserve 25-28 pounds. Support for Le Vieux Pin Syrah but 35+ yet Haywire Gamay Noir draws interest. Still early days but most encouraging to see the reputation for Canadian wines continuing to grow with “UK impressed” and “Canada moving in the right direction”. Obviously it takes time to establish an export wine market for Canadian wines but it is at least starting. Well done. Good luck!