By Elin McCoy originally posted January 4, 2018
Elin’s predictions for 2018 are spot-on but it’s her thoughtful questions that really spark interest. Questions: Now that cannabis is legal in California, will wine drinkers ditch pinot for pot? Will Amazon’s Alexa become the new wine recommendation guru? When will the #MeToo movement hit the wine industry? Will Sydney, Australia, really become the world’s largest urban vineyard?
Most of the wine world was happy to wave goodbye to 2017, a year of vine-killing frosts, hail, drought, and destructive wildfires in regions from California, to Chile, to Europe. Looking forward to 2018 is not only a relief; it’s exciting, because the year is full of promise. There will be new experimentation, exploration, and the continuing of trends we enjoyed from last year.
The rosé juggernaut
, for example, keeps crushing it. With U.S. sales up 57 percent in dollars, our must-drink-pink obsession continues and is even fueling interest in rosé cider and pink gin. And thanks to adventurous younger drinkers thirsty for novelty and affordability, enthusiasm for obscure native grapes, especially from Italy, is still growing fast.
Here’s what I see in my crystal glass for 2018.
The popularity of wine in magnums (the equivalent of a double bottle) and other large formats seems to track the stock market; when stocks are up, so is big bottle demand. In the U.K., wine retailer Majestic reported a 378 percent increase in sales of affordable supersize bottles last year, at its 200-plus stores.
The trend started with oversize bottles of rosé poured in Saint Tropez, and in 2017 Aldi supermarkets launched inexpensive jeroboams (4 bottles) of prosecco in the U.K. for Christmas.
For those craving luxury wines, Domaine Clarence Dillon (which includes first growth Château Haut Brion) recently launched an online retail site
dedicated to sourcing and selling large formats of everything from Beaujolais to Champagne to whisky. A Balthazar (16 bottles) of the polished, syrah-based 2014 Domaine de Montcalmès from the Languedoc is €479; for €15,600 you can have a Salmanazar (12 bottles) of the truly fabulous 2005 Château Haut Brion.