Slowing Wine Consumption Good For Cold Hardy Grapes
The big wine story of the week is slowing growth in wine consumption. In Wine-Searcher.com, John Gillespie of Wine Opinions opined to W. Blake Gray that wine sales might drop for the first time since ’93.
Another article today on the decline of wine in Wines and Vines said, “…craft beer, spirits and hard ciders are increasingly seen as competitors to wine, particularly among younger drinkers at lower price points.”
The reason that other beverages are having success at the expense of wine is because the makers of craft beer, ciders and spirits took chances on developing new products. Meanwhile, the major wine producing areas crank out the same old varietals.
Recently, MWP ran a link to a story in the UK Telegraph that said 93% of France as planted with less than 20 varietals. I have not seen similar figures for California, but the vast majority of the state’s wine sales must be Cab Sauv, Chard and Merlot. (In fairness, Muscat/Muscato from California has increased dramatically recently.)
There is literally a “good old boys” club of Somms, distributors and big wine producers who maintain the status quo for their own benefit. But the old wine establishment is starting to look like Anhueser Busch or Miller Brewing in the early 2000’s. Younger consumers grew tired of Budweiser and Miller High Life, and they are now becoming weary of redundant wines.
To their credit, there are adventurous Somms and wine writers who are turning people on to more obscure grapes and wines. It’s time for cold hardy grape growing regions- like the Central U.S.- to speak with a unified voice to promote the exciting new grapes and wines we can produce here.
For this renaissance to happen, old walls are going to have come down. With cohesion and leadership, the cold hardy grape industry is poised to take a quantum leap forward.