Well, my plan was not to write anything in January 2023. I was going to use the month to rest, catch up on stuff, etc. But then I found that the stuff on my to-do list was still there because I actually didn’t want to do it and wanted to keep procrastinating. I mean, I will update my trademark at some point – and hopefully before the deadline later this year – but I just don’t want to do it right now. So instead of what I should be doing, I’m going to share what I foresee as 2023 wine trends.
All That Bubbles…Other Than Champagne
While the champagne market is projected by people (smarter than me) to continue to grow and increase in market share, I also expect more love to be given to other types of bubbles – including Cava and Franciacorta. Both of these wines are made using the “traditional method” just like champagne is. Even though fuel prices have leveled out somewhat, other goods, particularly food is still through the roof with no relief in sight. Something’s gotta give if you you want to continue enjoying sparkling wine drink bubbly, and I think a logical choice is Cava. To be sure, Cava has been getting its act together. In fact, it’s been exactly a year since Cava’s new quality regulations went into effect giving consumers better assurances of the deliciousness in the bottle. During my trip to Catalonia last year I saw first hand the heights to which Cava can rise.
And while Franciacarta isn’t quite the bargain that Cava is, it does generally offer a traditional method sparkler that is more affordable than Champagne. During a conference this past year, my eyes were definitely re-opened to this tasty bubbly.
Plus, bonus that Franciacorta features primarily the same grapes – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – that Champagne does.
Languedoc Levels Up
As Boomers (who tend to trend toward premium wines) become a smaller part of the wine buying population, more and more folks will be looking to more wallet-friendly wines. Those looking for more affordable wines are also trending in the direction of more sustainable wines. Enter Languedoc. With cheaper land, fewer rules, and innovative winemakers, there is so much to be excited about in southern France. Blessed with the warmth of the Mediterranean and the cooling influence of the Atlantic, there is a diversity of wine styles in the region.
Robust red blends, vibrant sparkling wines, thirst-quenching rosé, and white wines ranging from crisp to full-bodies, its all there. Even better, due to its terroir, Languedoc is a leading producer (a third of France’s organic vineyards are there) when it comes to organic wines. And I love that I continue to see more of them on the store shelves.
No- and Low-Alcohol Wines Continue to Emerge
Enjoying no and low-alcohol wines is one of those 2023 wine trends that I’m really excited about. Having had a no-alcohol wine well over a decade ago, I was not excited to try them again. Back then, they tasted like glorified grape juice as opposed to any semblance to wine. But apparently producers are employing new techniques and I thought I’d go in again. And surprise, surprise, there are a few decent options out there. And even if you don’t go completely no alcohol, producers hear loud and clear that consumers want lower alcohol options and are crafting fresher, lower-alcohol wines which is just fine with me.
I recently tried a couple of “dealcoholized” wines from Giesen and they weren’t bad. Doing some research, Giesen came up as one of the better producers so I grabbed a couple of bottles from Whole Foods. Drinking both, I noticed a lack of body which undoubtedly came from the lack of alcohol. But I also loved the nutritional information label on the back of the bottle. Now, I struggle with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and this was a little tart and salty for me, but it did get better as it warmed up (I started too cold) and was better still the next day. So if you dig NZ Sauv Blanc, maybe give it a whirl. I didn’t mind the rosé and would have it again if I was in the mood for a no-alcohol wine.
Umlaut Wines Get More Love
With consumers having a preference for “natural” wines, the aforementioned lower-alcohol wines, not to mention off the-beaten path wines, so-called umlaut wines, i.e. wines from Germany and Austria, are getting their due. I was amazed at the number of folks I saw featuring Austrian and German wines in their top wines of the year last year. After multiple trips to Austria I know first hand some of the great things they are doing there. I left there completely smitten with Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, and St. Laurent. And Austria has shown itself to be a hotbed of low-intervention wines. Germany, with its cooler climate, is turning out fresh, light-bodied, lower alcohol wines that are great food wines. And I’m not just talking about Riesling. If you haven’t had a Spätburgunder, aka German Pinot Noir, you’re missing out.
Regenerative, Sustainable, Biodynamic, etc. Wines Continue Their Rise 10/15/21 pic
One of things propelling the interest in the Languedoc wines I mentioned above is its ability to make wines in a sustainable manner. I’m using the term “sustainable” broadly to cover a variety of viticulture methods including biodynamic, organic, etc. While these are all different methods of growing grapes and producing wine, one thing they have in common is a greater respect for the earth. And this is something more consumers, particularly younger ones, are asking for, if not demanding.
It’s been great to see the work entire regions are doing to answer these demands. More and more, there is true substance behind what producers are claiming and I’m here for it.
2023 is still young, but I’m excited to see these and other 2023 wine trends emerge. Cheers!