Erik Neilson on September 26, 2016 0 Comments With each passing year, it seems as if entire sets of new trends pop up in the food and beverage industries. Wine is no different, and the industry has experienced handfuls of permutations over the years. 2016 has seen its fair share of wine trends, some of which are likely to stick around for years to come. Others, however, may turn out to be nothing more than blips in history. Without further ado, here are the top worldwide wine trends of 2016, all of which have had an effect on the industry in one way or another. 1. Wine Tracking Apps Learn More About the Latest Wine Trends Here! One of the most interesting trends to hit the wine world in 2016 actually has nothing to do with wine production itself, but how people track and learn from the wines they consume. With approximately 75% of Americans carrying smartphones in their pockets, it makes sense why apps are being developed for practically every purpose one could ever think of – including tracking wines. Applications such as Vivino allow users to take a picture of the label on the bottle they’re drinking, which will automatically add the wine to the user’s portfolio and bring up a handful of reviews, prices and more information about the wine or varietal. For the tech-savvy, wine tracking apps are truly useful and can help to deepen one’s experience tasting and collecting different wines. Fortunately, there are plenty of different apps to choose from for both Android and iOS platforms. 2. Tasting Rooms Tasting rooms have long been a part of the beer world, as they offer an excellent opportunity to get a sense of a brewery’s range without having to commit to anything more than a handful of small pours. The same concept has applied to wineries in 2016, as the country has seen a huge uptick in the popularity and construction of winery tasting rooms over the course of just past year. Tasting rooms not only offer an opportunity for visitors to try numerous wines instead of having to order just a single glass, but they tend to be very social environments that promote fun and conversation. Some people even plan entire trips around visiting multiple tasting rooms while on vacation, which can be a very educational experience for wine lovers. 3. Sparklers Gaining Ground It’s always interesting to take a look at which types of wines are selling particularly well in any given year, and there are certainly plenty of factors that can affect these numbers. In 2016, sparkling wines had a larger sales footprint than in previous years, with Prosecco and Rosé being the two most popular options for those who don’t typically purchase sparklers. It’s difficult to say exactly why sparkling wine has gained so much popularity in a short period of time, but one thing is for sure — sparklers like Prosecco can provide year-round enjoyment at a fraction of the price of Champagne. 4. Natural Wines Today, more and more people the world over are embracing natural, organic products and lifestyle shifts than perhaps ever in the past. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a huge interest in and uptick in production of natural wines, which have finally entered the industry in a mainstream manner. Natural wines produced with minimal intervention, lending them a handful of unique characteristics that many people find either extremely appealing or completely surprising depending upon the bottle. Typically more expensive and harder to find than traditionally produced wines, natural wine is growing in popularity and will continue to be a big part of the wine landscape in the next decade. 5. Extensive “By the Glass” Wine Programs Let’s face it — not everyone wants to commit to an entire bottle of wine when going out for a meal. At the same token, wines served “by the glass” in restaurants throughout the country have historically left a lot to be desired, with some not even being worth ordering at low, nominal prices. Restaurants throughout America and the rest of the world are beginning to rethink what it means to order wines by the glass, now offering programs that feature 10+ single-glass pours of wines that are far more interesting and worth trying than typical options. The price per glass may be higher than you’re used to, but the additional quality is well worth it! If you’re not sure which varietal is right for your meal, it never hurts to ask for clarification. 6. Quality for Less Speaking of quality, budget-conscious wine lovers can rejoice in the fact that now is a better time than ever to find highly drinkable wine without having to spend a veritable fortune. There’s not only a push on the consumer end towards reduced wine prices, but producers are listening and dropping their prices to sizable degrees. Today, $10 can buy a very respectable bottle, which was perhaps less of a reality a few years ago than it is now. This is especially true if you look towards South American or Spanish wines, both of which tend to come along with high quality for low costs in comparison to wines produced in other parts of the world. So long as you know what to look for, price and quality don’t necessarily need to correlate in 2016. 7. Barolo Auctions Heating Up There are a handful of wines on the market that aren’t exactly ready to drink as soon as they’re bottled, and Barolo takes the cake in terms of tease-factor. In many cases, Barolo needs at least ten years in the bottle to be drinkable, with some requiring 20+ years for peak drinkability. As a result, many of the Barolos produced 10+ years ago are now fetching impressively high prices at auctions throughout the world, and top collectors are doing whatever they can to get their hands on the best bottles available. There’s never been a better time than now to grab some of the best vintages of Barolo in recent years — that is, if you’ve got the cash. 2017 will no doubt bring with it a handful of new wine trends, so stay tuned and keep ahead of the curve!