27 Jan 2014

Well, a bit late but here are my predictions for 2014--the trends, the successes, the failures and the new directions for the wine industry (in no particular order):
1. Pinot Noir will continue its growth. There is likely to be a shortage of serious Pinot from the cooler areas of Australia and we might even see the large companies step back into the ring.. Judging from our experience at cellar door, it's the younger drinkers who are at the forefront of this Pinot trend.
2. Good Burgundy will finally become unaffordable (if it isn't already) to anyone except hedge fund managers, Colombian drug barons and Premier League stars (did you see the item in last week's paper that Sergio Aguero of Manchester City earns around $430,000 per week?). Treasure any bottles you may already have and remember fondly those that you have consumed in the past.
3. The popularity of Prosecco will continue to increase. This may be disturbing news for those of you who prefer wines with some sort of flavour. Get used to seeing it by the glass in trendy restaurants, by the bottle at social barbeques and by the floorstack in our friendly supermarket liquor outlets.
4. 2014 will be a lean year for Australian grapes. Crops will be down in almost all regions due to drought and heatwaves. However, this won't lead to a rise in prices. There is still too much wine in the system, export volumes are in trouble and domestic consumption remains static.
5. Medical experts will continue to demonise all forms of alcohol while the wine industry spruikers will continue to declare that wine is different. And they are right.
6. Denmark in Western Australia will become the next "in" wine region. Just a pity it's so far away from anywhere.
7. The drinking trends will be craft beer, expensive spirits combined with artisan mixers, craft beer, cider and craft beer. What consitutes craft beer will become an increasingly divisive conflict for those of you who care.
8. The Australian dollar will fall, giving exporters some hope of improved sales. They will need to move fast to overcome the negative image of Australian wine overseas. The falling dollar may also stem the flood of cheap imported wine.
9. Low calorie/low alcohol wine sales will improve. The quality of such wines will not.
10. Small, family-owned wineries will continue to struggle as the supermarket chains and the large producers continue to offer good wines at prices that don't even begin to cover the costs of production of these small makers. It's a tough business.......