The Herald Bulletin

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January 11, 2014

Howard Hewitt: Looking ahead at wine trends, movements for 2014

The only good thing about looking forward at the start of the year is no one remembers your predictions a week or so later. That said, there are lots of trends and movement in the wine world which will have an impact on the average wine drinker.

For the first Grape Sense of 2014, it makes sense to look ahead a bit.

Moscato – That sweet white wine that seems to be everywhere is exploding. But that’ s not news since it all started in 2012. Sales increased by a third in 2012 with little sign of letting up in 2013. The light alcohol and light fizz has proven wildly popular with younger consumers.

From hip-hop artists to long-time sweet wine lovers, Moscato has become the go-to beverage. California is providing most of the sweet white but look for other labels to join the band wagon. Furthermore, check out your local grocery, wine shop, or liquor store shelves and you’ll find major labels offering a variety of sweet wines.

Red wine blends are another area continuing to expand and grow. A good red wine blend can go from the inoffensive to nuanced and satisfying to even the most discerning wine drinker. Better yet, you can often get big bold flavors from a good California or Washington blend at a fraction of the cost of single variety wines. Red wine blends offer some of the best value options for better wine.

The biggest sales growth areas are Moscato, sweet red blends, and Malbec. Malbec is a great intro point for those trying to expand beyond Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir. It’s a great food wine and a wonderful way to start exploring beyond your normal tastes.

Millenials and apps have been the talking points for much of the wine media over the last few years. Younger people are the fastest growing segment of the wine-buying population. They do drink sweeter wines but they are also very willing to try something new.

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