Everyone’s looking back! The Telegraph kicked things off with an article last week about wine trends of this decade — “the Naughties.” The signal trend highlighted by Jonathan Ray is making pink wine acceptable. He continues to list some other winners and losers in his column.
Over on eBob, there’s a discussion of the best wines of the decade. While which wine was the best remains a matter of discussion, one trend is for certain: there was a steep escalation in prices of the top wines from around the world over the past decade.
What are some of the other trends of the past ten years? Well, the fundamental trend of the decade for us Americans is a decade of increased wine consumption. Every year from 2000 – 2008 (2009 data are not yet in but look to continue the trend), per capita wine consumption rose. Without this rising interest in wine, many of the other items might not have happened, or, at least, happened more slowly.
Another notable trend has been the rise of imported wine. In volume terms, this is largely thanks to Yellow Tail, created only in 2002 but has since quickly hopped to the biggest wine brand in the history of the world!! Indeed, Australian wine’s rise and fall of operatic proportions would make it a strong contender for the title of wine country of the decade.
More focused, smaller importers have also bringing more diverse wines from smaller producers and off-the-beaten path grapes than ever before. Without them, and the many specialty wine shops that sell their wines, this wine lover’s glass would be half empty.
Speaking of this wine lover, what was I doing ten years ago? Oh, yes, researching my Ph.D. dissertation about the political economy of the wine industry in France and the US. When I finished, some friends gave me the domain name of Dr. Vino and I joined the blogger brigade that has certainly turned into one of the decade’s most exciting trends (but I am biased!). Ten years ago, the trend among wine writers was to talk at consumers; today, as more confident and knowledgeable consumers have blogs (as do most newspapers and magazines), the discussion is much more lateral in bulletin boards and elsewhere. And to think that ten years ago there was no Cellartracker!
Domestically, the boutique wine industry got a shot in the arm from the 2005 Supreme Court decision that paved the way to opening up shipping from wineries to consumers. In some states, however, the bureaucratic requirements still stymie smaller producers. And the efforts to turn the fifty state markets to one national market for wine retailers will continue into the next decade (or two).
Stylistically, wines, particularly whites, have turned sharply from more overt oak to less (or none). And some wines are reversing course too, turning from higher alcohol to lower. The tough sledding at the end of the decade for high end wines may have made producers rethink using absurdly heavy bottles, thereby reducing their costs and carbon footprint. Fortunately, box wines have shown a few glimmers of improvement and hopefully producers and importers will continue to put better wines in this format, which is affordable and accessible.
These are just a few major trends from the Naughties in the wine world. What are some of the most important ones for you?