It’s an exciting time for the wine industry - it seems as though the planet has stabilised again after the Covid-19 pandemic, but as usual, there’s plenty more change on the horizon. In 2022, we saw sustainability and respect for the environment become an increasingly important wine trend - this is expected to continue in 2023. The forces of climate change, digitalisation and globalisation are all leaving their mark on this ancient industry, which is becoming increasingly driven by e-commerce. Add this to the crowds of pioneers blurring traditional wine styles, and 2023 is set to be a fascinating year for wine.
In this article, we’ll update you on all of the major expected wine trends of 2023. We will discuss how sparkling wine is set to replace beer as America's drink of choice, and how the region of Franciacorta rises in prominence and popularity day by day. We’ll also explore the continued growth of e-commerce within the industry and what the concept of terroir means in 2023.
Fizzy Wine is Still Popping
Sparkling wine has always been a pretty popular drink in the United States, but in recent years we’ve seen sales increase dramatically. In 2023, we’re expecting to see sparkling wine overtake beer as the USA’s most-consumed beverage. This surprising trend goes hand in hand with the rising popularity of wine-based cocktails such as spritzers, or fizzy wine in a can.
We can see more emerging fizzy wine trends in the specific region of Champagne. “Grower” Champagne has been gathering momentum over the last few years and is something you should definitely watch out for in 2023.
Grower Champagne refers to wine that has been grown, harvested and bottled all by the same people. For a particularly fantastic example, take a look at Champagne Agrapart & Fils, who make small-yield, high-quality wines. Another phrase you may see tossed around in 2023 is “neo-négociant”. A négociant is essentially a wine producer who doesn’t grow grapes, instead sourcing them from various expert growers, many of which are families who have tended vineyards for generations. A neo-négociant, however, is a master of both - a grower turned négociant, who can pick and choose from a wide selection of terroirs. Expect to see the label “RM” for “Récoltant Manipulant” on even more bottles this coming year, as the trend continues to grow.
While famous regions like Champagne, Cava and Prosecco continue to thrive, it must be remembered that sparkling wine is often purchased for its novelty. In 2023, you can expect to see Franciacorta become a wine trend in itself. Relatively untouched by the mainstream, the name still brings a sense of intrigue and mystique that inquisitive wine drinkers find irresistible.
This is coupled with the fact that Franciacorta is a place for serious, bone-dry wines, made with minimal interference. If the region is new to you, or you simply want to meet some high-quality Franciacorta wines, our tasting case is an excellent way to get started.
In order to achieve DOCG status, these sparkling wines must be made using the traditional method, with the second stage of fermentation inside the bottle, on the yeast. They also have to spend at least 18 months ageing. 2021 was a good vintage for Italy so the Franciacortas that see the light of day in 2023 are bound to be fantastic. If you want to learn more about the intriguing terroir of Franciacorta, take a look at our article on the topic, where we explain everything you might need to know.
When we talk about wine in general, we could be referring to anything from a 5% ABV sparkling white, to an amber wine, to unctuous fortified reds. There are countless styles to explore, but as time goes on, the world of wine is beginning to look like a spectrum rather than a bunch of clearly defined categories. This is a trend we expect to see continuing over the next year.
These days, more wines of various styles are being produced in a wider variety of locations than ever before. The entire scene is looking more multidimensional, full of nuance, and sometimes just downright confusing with every passing day.
One useful way to illustrate this is by looking through a microscope at a more specific section of the wine world - as we did with New World Chardonnays (Read more here). Traditionally, still Chardonnay wines can be split into two types - oaked, which are typically round and buttery, and unoaked, which are more elegant and acidic. What we see in the article, however, is that pioneering wineries are creating style-blending wines. Some are hybrid New World Chardonnay’s with the best of both, or incredibly full-bodied Chardonnay’s that you can pair with meat. A great way to discover this blending of styles for yourself is through our “Around the World” tasting case. It’s a carefully cultivated selection of Chardonnay, exhibiting the best of the New and Old World.
For a bold reimagination of this grape, you should also consider the El Enemigo Chardonnay, which has been a long-time best seller.
You should also keep an eye out for a popularity spike in “off-red” wines, which combine the flavours of a red with the light body of a white, and a colour that is not quite rosé either. These will utilise classic light red wine grapes, like Pinot Noir, Gamay or Dolcetto.
As we said already, various styles of wine are constantly popping up in odd locations all over the world. Next year, look out for white wine from Rioja, and red wine from Champagne or England. In short, if it's experimental or difficult to categorise, look out for a spike in popularity in 2023.
Climate Change & Terroir
Another thing we may start to see in 2023 is the challenge that climate change poses to the concept of terroir. Weather changes, and it stands that the terroir can change too. Fluctuating weather is already affecting our daily lives, and it may not be long before it affects which wines we choose. This is another question that the variety of amazing New World Chardonnay throws up. Burgundy will always have a strong sense of place and as of now, it is still considered the best place to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - but it may not always be that way. In 2023, expect to see more conversation around this topic, particularly in tandem with the trends of sustainability and organic wine-making.
Growth in E-commerce
As is the case with pretty much all consumer products (except for your weekly fruit and vegetables), shopping for wine has become an increasingly online activity. This trend with wine began in earnest a long time ago, but the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the wine industry’s transition towards e-commerce. The trend is still growing in momentum. In 2023, we expect to see the wine industry take greater leaps towards becoming an e-commerce-driven industry.
For many smaller wineries and wine merchants with an online outlet, this is good news. The growing prominence of e-commerce in the wine industry is allowing humble businesses (like us at 8wines!) to promote themselves on the web. With the right tools, they can reach much wider, previously untapped audiences. It’s also good news for consumers because you don’t have to rely solely on what your local liquor store has on its shelves. Wine from every corner of the world is becoming more accessible.
This phenomenon is partly due to Covid-19 lockdowns, but the pandemic is not the sole reason. The truth is, due to our world becoming increasingly globalised and defined by trade and technological advancements, the wine industry was heading in this direction anyways. The Covid-19 pandemic simply sped things up a bit - and we expect that trend to continue in 2023.
Keeping It Natural
Statistics from the trend-predicting platform Exploding Topics show that searches for “natural wine” have increased 150% over the previous five years. A recent survey from International Wines and Spirits Record also discovered that 50% of wine drinkers in the US were positively affected by branding that relates to sustainability and organic farming methods. These two trends are both connected to perceived healthiness and consumers becoming more engaged in what they are purchasing - but they are not the same. To understand what you should look out for, it is important to draw a line between the phrases “Natural” and “Sustainable” or “Organic”.
When we talk about natural wines, it can refer to quite a broad area. It can mean wines created with traditional methods and without using pesticides, which is also an important part of being organic. However, there is a higher chance that the phrase “natural wine” will be referring to sparkling wines with zero added sugar. This is an emerging style that you can expect to hear a lot more about in 2023!
Typically, after fermentation, wine-makers will add a dose of sugar to their fizzy wines, making them Brut, Extra-Brut, Dry or Extra Dry. Pétillant-Naturel, or sparkling natural wines, are wines with zero added sugars. They are a different beast entirely, and worth keeping an eye out for in the coming year. They are typically tart, refreshing and very delicious! The small wineries that make wines in this vein are blazing a trail through the market.
On the other hand, when we talk about sustainable wine-making, it is usually about the entire process and not just the additives at the end. There has been a concerted effort across the entire wine world to transition towards biodiversity and organic farming. This means no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilisers, and an all-around effort to promote a variety of plant life in the vineyard. In short: growing grapes in a way that is harmonious with nature. It’s an approach that a massive amount of wine producers have embraced.
This transition is partly due to climate change being a big issue, and partly because wine-makers have great respect for their land. However, it is also what consumers want right now. In 2023, you can expect to see the wineries that haven’t made the change making it and an increase in sales among wines labelled as vegan or organic.
In conclusion, “minimal intervention” and “fizzy wine” are both great phrases to look out for this year. If one thing can be taken from all of these approaching trends, it’s that wine producers and wine drinkers both understand how important the land is. With the trends towards natural wine and organic labels, consumers are also showing an increased awareness of the effects of pesticides and heavily processed goods. Serious terroir-driven wines like Franciacorta are on the up - but so are wines that blur the space between styles. It’s going to be an intriguing year, and we hope this article has outlined some of the biggest wine trends to look out for in 2023.