4 wine trends to look out for in 2021

Schalk Opperman
With the uncertainty that 2020 has unleashed on the South African wine industry, accurately predicting the next wine craze is no easy task. From alcohol bans to beach closures, it is impossible to know what is waiting for us around the next corner, and Covid-19 has certainly made life difficult for us oenophiles. The pandemic has complicated just about everything to do with the wine industry – from how we buy it, to how we taste it, and everything in between.

Despite this uncertainty, Quoin Rock winemaker, Schalk Opperman, shares some of his predictions for the South African wine industry in 2021.

Many of the trends we saw emerge in 2020 will continue into 2021 such as the health and wellness boom and the increase in online wine sales. Environmentally-friendly packaging is also on the rise and rosé prosecco is expected to be this year’s trendiest drink.

Health and sustainability

The buzzword at the moment when it comes to wine is sustainability. From packaging to its transportation and production, consumers are increasingly switched on when it comes to buying into a brand that is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint in a meaningful way.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of caring for our health and we are seeing rapid growth in low-alcohol and de-alcoholised wines as well as natural, low-sulfite and vegan-suitable wines.

“The key to success with this new market, it seems, is working out how to tap into the millennial consumer; a generation who are opting to drink less and drink better.”

Virtual sipping and shopping

Lockdown has kept us stuck inside for most of 2020 and so it came as no surprise when online shopping boomed. South Africans who had been slow to embrace the move to e-commerce before, were pleasantly surprised by its ease and convenience and wine estates who were quick to respond to the surge in online sales, saw significant growth.

Virtual wine tasting has also become an important tool for wineries and online wine events, webinars and tastings show no sign of slowing down in 2021. It is expected that this trend will continue well past the time of coronavirus.

Eco-friendly packaging

The traditional heavy glass bottle has been replaced in recent years, with lighter-weight more environmentally friendly options taking centre stage. From plastic bottles to wine in a box and even wine in a can, creative wine packaging seems to be the trend in 2021.

Rosé all-day

Trending for the last six years, rosé has been a huge success over the past decade and many trend forecasters are predicting that 2021′s next big drink will be Prosecco rosé.

This light pink bubbly was launched in Italy at the end of November 2020, with the region already showing a steady increase in the sale of pink wines long before then. Combining the prosecco trend with the rosé trend is a sure thing for success.