As 2021 arrives and the awful 2020 is gone, there is hope that we will see the end of lockdowns in the first part of the year and some degree of normality will resume. 2020 had a big influence on the way we live, including food and wine shopping. These are some of main wine trends expected for 2021!

Buying Online

One effect of the various lockdowns of 2020 has been an increase in the number of people who buy wine online. There had been a steady increase in online sales of wine, just as there had been many other products, but COVID-19 added a new dimension to this growth and saw the biggest shift towards online wine sales ever. People who have never before considered buying wine online have been prompted to do so by the lockdowns.

With restaurants closed for much of 2020, there have been larger volume orders, as people stocked up on wine for home consumption. With lockdowns continuing at the onset of the new year, this trend will probably continue. It is expected that home purchasing will slightly reduce once it is possible to enjoy wine in restaurants and bars again, however, will stay as a ‘business as usual’ and at a much higher level than in 2019.

Wine Volumes

Experts are predicting that even when restaurants do open again, that the public will frequent them less than in the past and there will be increased awareness, from those who have been buying online, of the high margins that restaurants add to wine purchases.

Without the urgency to stock up, since restaurants are once again open, the feeling is that consumers may buy less volume but take advantage of the variety they have found online and start to experiment with more interesting wines. The trend observed in the UK for over 2 years now indicates that customers are buying less but are keen to buy higher quality wine, and allocate slightly higher budget to wine.

Alternative Formats

In December 2020, the traditional 75cl glass bottle remains the most common format for wine. However, awareness, and acceptance, of alternative formats is growing with almost 50% of the UK regular wine drinkers having awareness of alternative formats like pouches and cans.

The September 2020 packaging report suggests that there are three drivers for this awareness level:

  • Convenience
  • Environmental Concerns
  • Value for money

47% of British wine consumers are now open to the 2.5litre Wine Box concept. British supermarket Waitrose has also reported that during 2020 there has been a 35% growth in Wine Boxes.

Canned wines have also become big business in 2020 and look set to continue. Wine can sales in the UK have grown from £2.5m in 2018, to £10.7m in 2020.

‘Healthy’ Wines

Another growth at the moment is Organic wine. Organic wine sales are said to be booming, with the UK showing a 47% increase in 2020. Although organic is still a minute segment of the overall market, an interest in producing wines without pesticides and chemicals may be a concept that spreads, as a side effect is that land becomes more sustainable and could protect some traditional vineyards from water-logging and the soil hard setting in dry summer months.

An unexpected impact of the pandemic is a growth of interest in veganism. People are becoming aware that slaughterhouses and meat markets do a great deal to encourage diseases like SARS and COVID-19, there has been a rejection of traditional foods in favour of vegan ones. 2020 saw a huge spike and 2021 is expected to be even greater.

Another significant increase has been observed for Low Histamines wines – wines that contain lower levels of histamine and are perfect for people with histamine allergies. One of results of ‘long Covid’ for some people has been a newly acquired sensitivity to histamines which leads to unpleasant reactions when drinking wines, especially red.

Prosecco Rose

Another new development in 2020 is that Prosecco Rose; is now officially approved. The Italian government gave its blessing back in May. The DOC rules state that Prosecco Rose; must contain between 10 and 15% Pinot Noir mixed with Prosecco’s Glera grape. It is expected that this wine will be one of most popular wine choices in 2021 especially once warmer temperatures arrive!

Conclusion

2020 has been a year where new trends have begun, and the wine trade has adapted to extreme conditions. With the pandemic still with us, we are sure that there will be more changes on the way in 2021…

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