Five trends in the wine and spirits industry
As usual, when visiting a trade event, one can’t help but note a few trends or see a few interesting innovations. Pressure, Sustainability, balance… In this article, you’ll discover a few things I noticed during my visit at this year’s ProWein.
During my various chats and conversations with producers or merchants, I noticed that a word kept coming back: pressure. The present economic situation, the aftermath of the pandemic, the Ukrainian conflict, the logistics suffering from structural issues… many parameters are currently at play which put the entire market under pressure.
Actually, this pressure is obviously not only affecting the wine and spirits segment, but all categories of the global economy.
Sustainability is a way of life
Vineyards live thanks to the earth. So, it is not a surprise to see wine makers putting forward all the efforts they do to preserve the soils. But it doesn’t stop there. I definitely noted that for many wine producers, sustainability is not just preserving their lands or going organic. Actions to render the wine industry more sustainable are quite varied: everyone tries to use water responsibly, solutions are found to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (for ex: lighter bottles in transport, …), labels are printed with ecofriendly ink, …
Balance is key
Pressure and sustainability were on everyone’s lips, but another trend was noticeable: balance. Obviously, one can find tons of variety when it comes to wine: smooth, powerful, fruity, … but one word seemed key this year with the concept of balance. During various tastings I had the pleasure to attend, wine experts pointed out that the search for a balanced wine is what drives them. The end product should be the result of craftmanship obviously, but also represent a balance between all the parameters that make a great wine: grape variety, age, tannin, alcohol content, maturation, … To illustrate, I will give you the example of Chateau Tanunda where every wine represents a certain balance, whether it is their Kangaroo Ridge range, their Barossa or their Old Vines.
Creating Moments with the right ingredients
Whether with or without alcohol, cocktails and mixed drinks must obviously be prepared with quality ingredients. But mixologists out there (and buyers who want their shelves with the best products) need to work with a variety of ingredients. This year, don’t just take a high quality Rhum or gin or whiskey…you must also present products that create moments, offer a drink that symbolises the aperitif, the digestive, the moment you spend with friends in the garden in the summer, or the one you spend in the winter next to the fireplace, … A great example came from Kiss My, a varied range blending wines, spirits and herbs. The result can be appreciated pure or in mixed cocktails. And when you taste the different varieties, you do associate each one with a moment in time. The rhubarb makes you dream of summer, the nuts with its touches of cinnamon makes you long for the winter, and the blackberries would make a great drink all year long but will also give a surprising twist to your Negronis for example.
A trip to Italy
Last but not least, let’s travel thanks to wine. Many countries exhibited at this year’s ProWein, and I couldn’t help notice a strong attendance of Italian wines. The country was well represented with numerous vineyards, regions and exporters. Balanced, organic, sustainable, ripe, surprising…this year’s offer of Italian wines indicates that the wine category everywhere should experience an Italian push in the coming months.
To be honest, I do feel that in the last couple of years, Italian wines have been somewhat neglected by retail buyers in my region. So hopefully, they visited the show and have been inspired. To give them a little help, allow me to give two of my favourites discovered at this year’s show. First, the Gergenti 5 Emeralds, a white wine made from a blend of 5 grapes (Trebbiano, Malvasia, Bellone, Greco and Viognier). It is well balanced, fruity and is a perfect buddy for your pasta dishes or even cheese plates. And secondly, my second pick, (maybe my favourite even), the Corte del Golfo Lazio. A red wine, which I sadly can’t find on the Belgian shelves. This wine is probably one of the best price/quality ratios I found on this year’s ProWein. The Corte del Golfo Lazio offers an intense ruby robe, a balanced aroma of cherry, spices and a bit of tobacco. It is the perfect pair for pasta dishes or other typical Italian classics.