It’s a great time to be a wine drinker, no matter your location, the season, or the types of varietals you prefer. Whether you’re enjoying a glass at a restaurant, getting wine delivered, or looking for something low-ABV or regular-strength — there’s an exciting boom happening in the industry right now, resulting in more unique and delicious options to choose from than ever.
This also means it’s a great time to be a wine seller. According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, wine consumption is expected to bounce back after a dip during the beginning of COVID-19, with a compound global annual growth rate of 2.4% from 2020 to 2024. With tasting rooms closed, wine aficionados and casual drinkers are turning online to buy their bottles. In the U.S., Silicon Valley Bank’s 2021 State of the Wine Industry Report showed a major boom in e-commerce wine sales, which includes alcohol delivery partners.
Uncorking 2022 wine trends
As a business that sells wine, whether for drinking on site or through offering alcohol delivery, it’s important to stay abreast of drinking trends so that you can add some intriguing new offerings alongside your tried-and-true customer favorites. Keep reading to unbottle some of the latest wine trends that are gaining popularity and will delight curious customers.
Unique grape blends and offbeat options
One of the most fun wine trends to grow in popularity recently are unexpected varietals and fermentation methods. While not necessarily new (many of these processes are years, decades, or centuries old), these options are new to most casual wine drinkers and provide an unexpected twist to their usual glass.
Orange wine, for example, is having a major moment right now – in fact, Forbes reported it as one of the biggest drinking trends emerging in 2021. Orange wine is similar to a white wine or a rosé, and is made with green grapes that get a lot of contact with their skins and stems as they ferment, in a process called “extended maceration.” That contact is what gives orange wine its light amber color and slightly richer flavor. Consider reaching out to local wine producers in your area to see if they offer an orange wine, or check out this list of top orange wines for more ideas on brands to stock.
Another offbeat option that’s gaining popularity is chilled red wines. Again, this is by no means a “new” way of doing wine — some wines, like the Italian varietal Lambrusco, are meant to be served ice-cold. However, more and more customers are enjoying chilled red wines because they can be fruity and refreshing — not to mention a nice beverage on a hot day. In a recent article for Vine Pair, Jon McDaniel, owner and CEO of Chicago-base Second City Soil, explained, “Over the last few years, consumers have been looking for lower-alcohol, lighter styles of red, which are the perfect style for a little chill on them.” Consider stocking up on chillable reds and dark rosés to appeal to your customers who are looking for a unique but refreshing option.
Low-ABV and no-ABV wine brands expand
Building on the desire to think about their health more holistically, many wine consumers are exploring the idea of drinking less — and wine producers have responded enthusiastically with low-ABV and no-ABV options. Consumers are already exploring this in other areas of their alcohol consumption. In fact, ISWR also reports that the non-alcoholic spirits category is expected to expand 35% by 2023.
Joshua James, owner of the non-ABV beverage shop Ocean Beach Cafe in San Francisco, explained the reason behind this trend, noting “It's not just about abstinence from alcohol. This movement is also about people who just don’t want to drink as much. They want to enjoy some of the same flavors from alcoholic beverages, but without the hangover or other negative side effects.”
Joshua is excited about the innovation he sees happening in the non-alcoholic wine space, though he cautions that, “The non-alcoholic white wines are generally much better — the reds aren’t quite there yet,” since it’s a difficult process to ferment grapes and then remove the alcohol without removing all the flavor. He recommends trying out Sovi Wine Co. and Surley Wines for some of his favorite non-alcoholic wines.
Organic, vegan, and biodynamic farming practices grow
Health-focused customers are also inspiring other trends in wine, bringing over a lot of elements we’ve already seen in the food space — like being able to certify that a product is organic or vegan. While many wines are already naturally vegan, some brands make sure of this by only using non-animal products to filter out particles before bottling it. Celebrities have been getting into the game with vegan wine brands like Cameron Diaz’s Avaline, Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough’s Fresh Vine Wine, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Invivo. This trend is still in its early years: globally, organic wine accounts for 2.75% of global wine consumption but is expected to grow to 4% by 2024, according to IWSR.
Daniel Mettyear, research director for wine at IWSR, explained in IWSR’s Global wine trends to watch in 2021, “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.” Customers are seeking reassurance that they’re taking care of the earth as well as themselves.
Another trending farming method for wine production that aligns with this ethos is called biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming is like organic farming but with mystical extra steps. No pesticides are used in the growing of the grapes, and many biodynamic farmers will follow an astrological sowing and planting calendar — including doing additional rituals like burying a cow horn that’s been stuffed with quartz in order to harvest “cosmic forces in the soil.” Whether it improves the wine or not is debatable — but it sure doesn't hurt anything. Check out this list of top biodynamic wines for inspiration.
Wine and alcohol delivery is on the rise
As the pandemic shut down businesses, many customers turned to takeout and delivery to get food and goods. Alcohol delivery is one of those services that’s on the rise. In fact, customers have found more reasons to celebrate at home — and bring the wine-drinking experience with them. “Although wine suffered heavily from the economic and on-trade downturn, the low-tempo nature of lockdown, more time for meal preparation, digital meet-ups and a propensity to treat oneself more often sparked a rediscovery of the category,” noted Dan Mettyear, research director at IWSR explained in a recent report on at-home wine consumption.
Omar Korin, owner of the Oakland-based convenience store Savemore Market & Liquors started selling alcohol through DoorDash in 2020, and was surprised at the response he got. He recalls how his Q4 2020 DoorDash sales went through the roof, with an average of 500 alcohol delivery orders per week, and average sales of $20,000 each week. He recalls, “My son asked me, ‘Dad, when is the DoorDash tablet going to stop yelling at us?’ We were getting so many orders!”
As you start to consider offering alcohol delivery, whether you hire your own drivers or work with an alcohol delivery partner, one of the keys to success is figuring out a good workflow with your prep team and drivers. Omar recommends designating fridge space for alcohol delivery orders, so that the delivery drinks are easy for Dashers to find and arrive to customers chilled and ready to drink.
Pour a glass for your customers
Ready to toast to continued wine sales? As you start to plan out your bottles and inventory based on these new trends and old favorites, don’t forget to take into account the top drinking holidays to coordinate your marketing efforts, and make sure you have the right beverages available at the right times. As many customers are still staying home these days, consider hosting your own virtual tasting and education events to help your customers thoroughly learn about and enjoy what they’re drinking.
Interested in working with a wine delivery partner to boost your alcohol delivery sales and connect with more customers in your area? Learn more about how alcohol delivery works with DoorDash, and see if alcohol delivery for retailers is available in your area.