Food

Wine Trends 2012

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, January 05, 2012    

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Jamaica had a really great year with respect to the wine business. New importers, many new wines on the market, and the best news of all — more wines being consumed. I noticed a few trends developing in our local market throughout the year and conducted a bit of research to see how we compared internationally. We are not far off at all. Even as recent as this past Sunday, at the ever-popular Frenchmen New Year's Day party billed as the Caribbean's most exclusive party event, CLIMAX 2012, I tested some of the assumptions and trends.

Sweet is in

Moscato has taken off in a big way and sales will continue to rise going into 2012. There's also high demand for sweet red wine, not Port, but red wine that has a little bit of residual sugar. We do have a few wines like this on our supermarket shelves — Beringer Red Moscato and Trivento Sweet Malbec come to mind. Requests for sweet wines, red or white, was high at the Premium wine bar at the party. In a recent interview, Ray Isle, executive wine editor, of FOOD & WINE magazine had this to say: "One of the weirdest trends this year has been a huge boom in Moscato... The classic version comes from Italy, and is sparkling, but again, the growth has really been fuelled by affordable versions from California. And it doesn't hurt that a bunch of hip-hop performers like Waka Flocka started singing about it in their lyrics."

Sparkling is growing

While most persons tend to drink champagne for celebration, globally other sparkling wines such as Cava (Spain), Prosecco and spumante (Italy) have gained tremendous popularity here, as consumers can now get their "bubbly" at bargain prices, while still enjoying a really great product. The Premium wine bar at CLIMAX 2012 served a popular spumante by the producer Verdi which was finished in record time.

In search of Value wines

Calls and emails from consumers in search of value wines are on the increase. They don't want "cheap" wines, but rather mid-priced wines that will offer a great value for their price. Wines from regions such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, and Spain can offer such value without the high price tag of some of the more famous regions.

Other trends on the market include (A) Interest in "Green" wines or wines produced by producers supporting sustainable practices. (B) The Hospitality Industry is realising the importance of their wine programmes and the contribution to the bottom line. They continue to realise the fact that staff education is key, as their customers are looking to be informed about the choices that they make while dining in their establishment. Restaurants have learnt that they need to keep the wine programmes fresh; patrons are looking for new experiences every visit.

Chris Reckord — Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. Follow us on http://twitter.com/DeVineWines

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