Holiday wine trends 2016: We’re spending the same amount of money, and spending it on rose and sauvignon blanc
Three things stand out in deciphering holiday wine trends 2016 after talking to retailers around the country:
• We’re going to spend money on wine this season, but not necessarily any more than we’ve spent in years past.
• Rose and sauvignon blanc, hardly traditional favorites, look to be big sellers.
• And all that talk about adventurous wine drinkers going off the beaten path for wine to drink? It’s just talk – cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and chardonnay are still the wines we’re buying for the holidays.
Price, first: Consumers are still looking for value, say retailers, and that’s true whether the wine costs $15 or $50. Robert Pennington of Pogo’s in Dallas (where the Wine Curmudgeon buys wine when the Cubs win the World Series) says his customers are finding tremendous value from France’s Rhone with red blends from $15 to $25, In this, he says, they may be gravitating from Spain, long the value leader.
As to rose and sauvignon blanc? They’re cheap, they’re mostly well made, and almost all of them offer tremendous value. Michael Osborn, the founder and vice president merchandising for Wine.com, says it seems that people who buy more expensive California wine are also buying sauvignon blanc – call it the second label for big red drinkers. They keep it in the fridge, often spending as little as $10 a bottle, for a glass before dinner.
Osborn also says that the rose naysayers, who thought pink wine’s surge in popularity was be a one-off (does anyone remember moscato?), should note that Wine.com’s rose sales grew almost 50 percent in the first 11 months of 2016.
And why the familiar? When you’re giving a gift, or even buying wine for yourself for a special occasion, you’re less likely to gamble, says Glenn Ehrlich, the co-owner of the Denver wine shop Corks. Trying something new is well and good for Tuesday night takeout, but when you need to buy the boss a present? Out with the odd, and in with the wine you know he is going to like.
“People need to splurge more on themselves,” he says. “They should take a chance and try something they normally wouldn’t try because it isn’t what they normally drink.”