As a nation, we are increasingly turning our backs on alcohol, and while cutting it out completely works for some, others are looking to cut down with a more refined experience. And high-quality wine is at the forefront of this revolution. Oenophiles have always respected the historic craft of winemaking and can take equal pleasure in pairing wine with food or enjoying a glass on its own. From sparkling to earthy reds and crisp, refreshing whites, wine comes in many delicious forms with varying flavour profiles and it is the marker for many an occasion, so it is no surprise that Brits spend an average of £5.5bn a year on the stuff. But in our ever-changing, environmentally conscious society, what does the future of wine look like?
To mark its 30th anniversary, specialist wine merchant Armit Wines teamed up with food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye to look at how wine industry trends could evolve over the next 30 years.
We can order almost anything online these days and that includes wine. It’s a service offered by a raft of established wine clubs and delivery companies, including Armit Wines, which delivers rare and fine wines to your door or your cellar storage facility. Yet, as the popularity of online shopping grows, Gaye says, ‘Instant wine delivery via drones will eventually become the norm. This digital service will avoid congestion issues and out-of-hours business to deliver a much more immediate service. Oenophiles with cash to flash will have instant delivery of wines to exotic locations at a moment’s notice’.
A lot of bottle
Reducing waste, including unnecessary packaging, is an issue that has been gaining momentum over the past few years and, according to Gaye, this is likely to be accelerated over the next few decades too. ‘Non-plastic glasses made from fully compostable cornstarch will come to the fore,’ she says. There will also be edible bottles to help ‘counteract packaging waste’, with one Brazilian company, Embrapa, already developing edible membranes from papaya, which could evolve the wine experience further by ‘complementing wine tasting profiles with the flavour of the vessel itself’.
New flavour profiles
There’s a growing desire among consumers to know where their produce comes from and, according to Gaye, this will continue for future wine consumers, who will be interested in transparent provenance and detail on a wine’s craftsmanship. They will also be looking for unique flavour profiles, which will encourage winemakers to incorporate seasonal fruits such as damson and plums into wine in Europe while horned melon will be an addition to the New Zealand wine portfolio.
Sharing and caring
As the nation’s drinking habits continue to change, Gaye predicts Brits will be looking for a more refined and collaborative drinking experience. ‘Rather than drinking alone to unwind, cultural drinking habits will be dictated by a “sharing society” and a flourishing eating-out market,’ she says. ‘It will bring with it many more socially acceptable opportunities throughout the day to imbibe a quality glass of wine with friends.’
While we can never truly predict what the next few decades will bring, investing in wine can go some way to securing your future wine drinking experience. Kirsten Kilby, managing director at Armit Wines suggests buying two cases, ‘one to enjoy now and the other to securely store to sell later’ – a good place to start is with the top estates, which never go out of fashion.
So whether you’re holding on to valuable vintages, buying eco-friendly bottles that enhance the flavour profile of your wine or ordering a bottle to be delivered within the hour, Gaye believes we have ‘a sophisticated future in wine drinking’ ahead of us.
Join Armit Wines for a tasting of the latest releases from Burgundy En Primeur 2017 on Wednesday 9 January, 6.30-9.30pm at Ironmongers’ Hall, Shaftesbury Place, London EC2A 8AA; armitwines.co.uk