Two themes have emerged while putting this issue together: the wine world is pulling ever more sharply in two, radically different directions. First, wine is moving in commercial directions that would have seemed unthinkable a decade ago. One of the hottest trends in the US market right now is canned wine. An Australian company called Barokes improved the liner around 2006, and for a while there was an expectation that cans would appear on yachts, at sporting events, and round the pool. But widespread adoption of the can didn’t happen, although the packaging did find something of a home in Japan. Now, however, canned wines have suddenly exploded into the US mainstream, as Liza B. Zimmerman reports.
Canned wine is positively conservative compared to another new trend. Recently, wine has had to add a new colour to the spectrum: red, white, and pink are now joined by orange, as Simon Woolf details in his feature on orange wine. But that’s only the start of the colour revolution – when I was walking around various trade shows this year, I couldn’t help noticing how many colourful wines were appearing. A few bright reds, at least one neon green, and a shocking yellow. The colour that kept coming up, over and over? Ice blue. Is this a gimmick or a real trend? I have some thoughts about it, which you’ll find on page 6.
Technology is also poised to alter the landscape, for smaller producers as well as bigger ones. A new crop of digital tools are coming onto the market that will allow producers to pinpoint exactly where they should be focusing their export efforts. You’ll find more about this on page 36. The second direction is straight back to the past. Wines that had fallen out of favour, such as Soave and Muscadet, are being refreshed and returned to the market full of vigour, to the delight of a new generation of consumers. Ancient areas are being revitalised in Israel. And Roger Morris has also stumbled onthe intriguing tale of Thomas Duroux at Château Palmer, who is even thinking of reviving a lost tradition – that of the worker village. It will be interesting to see what develops.
As always, this issue contains a number of our most popular features, including the Power Lists. This issue, we look at who the major distributors are in the Nordic markets of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, while also identifying Who’s Who in Hong Kong. And, finally, I paid a visit to Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux to see the food and wine library that’s being assembled there, offering insights into how food and wine have evolved together. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
Until next time,