OPINION: It is frustrating to take a special bottle to a dinner party and have the host murmur thanks before consigning the bottle to his or her wine cellar.
Market research organisation Wine Intelligence looks into the future each year and makes quite specific predictions. They have scored a high hit rate in the past. Here are their five predictions for 2021.
- Wine volumes will decline and spend per bottle will rise – though this may be largely due to rising alcohol taxes. Taxes on alcohol are a popular way for governments to re-charge the coffers drained by Covid-19. I would add that Australian wine producers will be seeking alternative markets after China, their biggest market, placed restrictive taxes on Australian wine. New Zealand is an obvious target.
- Alternative packaging formats will make serious inroads into the traditional glass bottle market. Bag-in-box and cans have a smaller carbon footprint than bottles, which could become a victim of measures to battle climate change.
- Wineries will forge more meaningful and lasting direct relationships with their consumer bases, but wine tourism will take a long time to recover. The pandemic has motivated producers to ramp up their online sales to good effect. The momentum is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace. Cellar door visitors will continue to be depleted until borders are opened.
- The surge in online retail usage will continue, and investment and growing competition will reshape the online channel and enhance delivery speed. Consumers have been encouraged to make purchases online. That is likely to continue as deliveries become faster and more efficient.
- The wine seltzer market will take off. Hard seltzer has tripled in the US over the past two years and is expected to continue.