Erik Neilson on December 14, 2016 1 Comment Anyone who has spent enough time paying attention to the wine world knows that the industry is highly susceptible to trends. Some disappear seemingly as soon as they pop up, while others go on to influence the industry for many years to come. With 2017 right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at some of the wine trends that are likely to influence the wine world in the coming months, many of which show promise in terms of moving the industry in a forward direction. Want to stay ahead of the curve in 2017? Here are a handful of wine trend predictions you can’t afford to ignore. 1. Focus on Millennials Millennials are fast becoming the largest wine-drinking audience in the world, out-drinking the baby boomers in 2016 by a sizable margin. It’s estimated that nearly 30% of millennials drink wine daily, and their influence on the industry doesn’t stop there — they’re making wine, too. What does this mean for wine in 2017? Mainly, growing reflections of millennial values. Labels are continuing to get more creative and whimsical, biodynamic and organic wines are in the hotseat and price points are coming down for daily reds and whites — all things that any generation can get on board with. 2. Canned Wine One of the most surprising trends to hit the wine industry in quite some time is that of canned wine, and it’s just starting to heat up. In the past year alone, the sale of canned wine has nearly doubled, largely due to the millennial influence mentioned above. Reds, whites, sparklers and everything in between can be put into a can without issue, and the end result is a convenient, portable and usually very affordable option that’s tailor-fit for the beach or for entertaining. In many ways, cans help to protect wine, as they don’t allow any light in and are even better at preventing oxidation than traditional corked bottles. There are a handful of cans out there right now, but 2017 will see an explosion of new entries to the market. 3. Prosecco Will Lose Steam Prosecco is well-loved for a number of reasons, and it has held a large portion of the sparkling wine market for quite some time now. Cheaper than Champagne but still delivering those satisfying bubbles, Prosecco has become a go-to refresher for entertaining and lounging around on a hot summer day. While it may have a relatively big share in the market right now, sales have been dwindling over the course of the past couple of years, likely due to the fact that many new and exciting sparklers are popping up. Prosecco will always have its time and place, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s beginning to lose steam. 4. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine Will Have its Time in the Spotlight If you have yet to hear about bourbon barrel-aged wine, you’re not alone. It’s certainly growing in popularity, but it’s nowhere near where it will be in 2017. Plenty of wines are aged in oak barrels, but the vast majority of these are either French, American or Hungarian virgin oak. Bourbon barrels are an entirely different story, as they’ve been charred to bring out the smoky, caramelized characteristics that make their way into the drink in question. As many beer lovers have come to understand, aging liquids in used bourbon barrels can impart a great deal of flavor that would never otherwise present itself, and the same can be said for wine. It’s still early in the life of the bourbon barrel-aged wine trend, but all signs point to a speedy increase in its popularity. 5. Natural Wine Will Continue to Dominate Trendy Wine Lists The popularity of natural wine over the course of the past few years is impossible to ignore, and it’s surely going to continue into 2017. This is especially true when it comes to wine lists in trendy wine bars scattered throughout the world, many of which focus either primarily or entirely on natural wine. It’s a double-edged sword in many ways, as while some natural wine can be beautifully made, the categorization can also be used to hide flaws in a wine and even drive up its price point. Still, great natural wine is out there, and it’s not going away anytime soon. 6. By-the-Glass Wine Options Will Increase Ever wanted to try a wine at a restaurant but didn’t want to spring for a $50 bottle? If so, you’re one of the main reasons why by-the-glass offerings are growing in popularity in restaurants and bars everywhere. Historically, wines poured this way have been relatively boring to say the least — a mixture of Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, and usually not much else. As wine palates are broadening, people are looking for something more than run of the mill offerings, and restaurant/bar owners know this. The result is a much wider selection of wines by the glass, even if price points have risen slightly in order to accommodate this. At the very least, more esoteric wines offered by the glass means opening people up to grapes they might not ever try otherwise — a good thing for the wine world. 7. Chilled Reds There are plenty of myths in the world of wine, some of which get in the way of people actually enjoying the beverage and cause more harm than good. One of these myths is that all red wine should be served at room temperature, and all white wine should be chilled down. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of different examples of red wine that not only can be served with a slight chill on them, but will actually benefit from being chilled. Take Frappato, for example — a Sicilian red that is so light in color it almost resembles rosé. With a half hour in the fridge, the wine’s minerality and sea-salt characteristics come out in full force, yet they tend to be muted when the wine is served warm. Many wineries are now listing ideal serving temperatures right on the bottles themselves, and if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that a lot of modern reds are produced with the notion that they should be chilled, at least slightly.