Four wine trends to watch this Christmas
As cautious optimism spells the return of Christmas gatherings, Kingsland Drinks’ head of marketing, brand and insights Charles Overin, has made some predictions for the wine category in the run up to the festive season.
“Rosé DOC Prosecco has really been the drink of 2021 and we’re expecting great things from it this Christmas,” he says. “It’s likely to be a top seller as it’s the first full Christmas period since it became legal in the UK in November 2020.”
Citing IRI data for the year to August 8, he adds that Prosecco is up 14.5% on the year prior, in value terms, while total sparkling is up 19%.
“Our partner producer, Borgo Molino, has got off to a great start in the UK," he says, mentioning the Corte Molino Rosé brand in Co-op.
He also flags crémant, which he says is up 70% in value terms compared to this time last year (IRI).
“It’s an excellent value alternative to Champagne,” he says.
Big and small formats
“Pandemic restrictions saw consumers explore the bag-in-box wine format and it looks like that is a trend that is here to stay, following changes to shopping habits, lifestyles, budgets and drinking occasions,” says Overin. “The UK bag-in-box category is currently worth £355 million, and has grown 8% over the last 52 weeks.
“Boxed wine also brings environmental and sustainability benefits – important for the industry and for consumers taking steps to make more eco-friendly choices.”
Overin also highlights magnums, which he says offer a sense of occasion at Christmas – as well as something special for gifting. He mentions the Tourmaline Côtes de Provence Rosé magnum in Waitrose (RRP £25.99) from Kingland's partner producer, Barton and Guestier.
Smaller formats, including cans, are also on Overin’s hot list, especially among younger generations who “prefer informal, convenient, affordable and fun drinks”.
Off the beaten track
Overin says European wines really shine at Christmas and he is expecting great things from new styles and new varietals.
“During the pandemic, we've observed changing shopper behaviours and how consumers are taking a leap into the unexpected, branching out into with wines from Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova,” he says. “This part of the world is often overlooked when it comes to wine production, but huge strides have been made among winemakers striving to elevate the quality credentials of their wines and become internationally recognised, appreciated and celebrated.”
Overin says Kingsland will offer a Romanian range at three price points under three brands – Rhea, Byzantium, and Hyperion.
“Sustainability is a watchword when it comes to wine – for the packaging, sourcing, transportation and production,” he says. “The consumer is increasingly switched on and Covid has only accelerated interest in drinks that deliver both in terms of taste and quality, but also present the opportunity to buy into a brand that’s dedicated to reduce its footprint.”
He says Australian wine producers have some “excellent ranges” in the market, and innovations and projects in the pipeline which meet these needs. He highlights Andrew Peace Wines from Murray River as well as The Hidden Sea brand.
“We’re anticipating a big Christmas, with all the build-up, gatherings, dinners and celebrations, as people missed out on Christmas 2020 festivities,” Overin says. “The Covid-19 pandemic has been an accelerator for some trends and has brought challenges for others, but the drinks industry has shown itself to be resilient, agile and has responded to new consumer preferences, tastes, lifestyles and budgets with innovative products to keep the market lively, and top-quality favourites that wine drinkers know and love.”