For those who earn a living in the wine industry, 2020 certainly offered many challenges. But like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, some vineyards and companies used their creativity to capitalize on a captive audience, (literally) and actually came out ahead of the game. In looking to 2021, the world of wine should have a fairly good year, and many of the lifelines that vineyards established to survive the year 2020 will stick around. And as is always the case in the world of wine, there are bound to be a few surprises.
Sustainability and High-Quality Ingredients
As more young people become wine connoisseurs, they bring a particular concern to the wine industry about the ingredients used to make wine and how responsibly crafted the wine is. “With the pandemic highlighting the fragility and vulnerability of our place within the natural world, the focus on ingredients, authenticity, proximity, wellness, and taking care of yourself, society, and the planet, are all climbing fast,” said Daniel Mettyear, research director for wine.
For the wine industry, this means decreasing their carbon footprint, moving toward organic grapevines, using responsible packaging, and making the whole process more sustainable. As consumers begin to demand more accountability, the winegrowers are responding. Oregon Live reports, that “Luxury wine giants will promote new “ethical wine” initiatives such as the certified regenerative farming program.”
Portugal is the New Hotspot
Portugal has arrived. September 2020 saw a 35% increase in the sale of wine from Portugal, mostly due to the quality to price ratio, and the trend is expected to continue.
Elin McCoy, Bloomberg wine reporter said of Portuguese wines, “They’re delicious, food-friendly, inexpensive, and more than worth the cost. Douro Valley reds are stunning.” The wines of Portugal will continue to flourish in the United States as 2021 progresses.
Another element of the pandemic wine industry that will stay for 2021 is the idea of building personal relationships with the clients. Wineries have reached out personally to communicate, to host wine tasting events online, and to try to bring people together through wine in this troubling time.
For instance, at Barterhouse we spend a lot of time cultivating relationships. When we forge a personal relationship with vineyards, winemakers, distributors, and customers, we set a chain in motion. These relationships are what allow fantastic wines to make it to your table.
Online Retail will Increase
With fewer people going out to restaurants and bars since the pandemic began, online retail sales have skyrocketed. This makes sense because people are staying home, and sampling fine wine gives them something to do with their time. 2021 will continue this trend in wine. Online subscriptions will stay popular, as will other retail wine purchases delivered to the home.
This online trend has helped small producers of wine especially. “Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division, reports that online sales for small producers increased by an impressive 153% this year.” This unprecedented number is likely to continue, though probably at not that high of a rate.
Online winery tours and guided tastings
Since the restaurant and bar industry is moving back to normal more slowly than people may have wanted, the online wine world might be sticking around a while. One positive to come from this experience is that you can explore the beauty of a winery without leaving the comfort of your couch with an online winery tour. Wineries are happy to offer these tours and it would be fun to drink a local wine while you are touring online.
This idea has even created new businesses. Vivant, is a new platform that offers live wine experiences from regions that make wine around the world, and Vivant works with both professionals who produce a great show and a community of quality organic winegrowers.
Try these great wines while you view the virtual wine regions of France and Italy. Conte Guicciardini is a traditional Tuscan red, or this Domaine Du Mas Des Tines, a white from the Burgundy region of France, will both offer you a unique wine experience while you take a peek at the region where they were made.
If you prefer the wine to the winery, many companies are sponsoring guided tastings in place of happy hour. Drinks and snacks are delivered to your home while a sommelier walks you through a wine tasting. This is a great way to meet up online with your friends and take all the hassle out of the process.
Although no one knows for sure what 2021 will hold, especially considering the difficulties experienced in the heart of Covid-19, some of the techniques used by wineries and distributors to get through the difficult times in 2020 will stay put in the coming year. Look for a more intimate relationship with wineries, more online events, and an interest in sustainability and being more environmentally conscious in the coming months.