Summertime is wine time! A glass of wine is a wonderful way to wind down in the evening and can be a great beverage option at picnics, barbeques, and get-togethers. A good bottle of wine also makes a great hostess gift.
If you are thinking about buying a bottle for a special occasion, or even a case or two so you always have some wine on hand, it helps to know your options. While you should always drink what you like, there are some wine trends to follow that could help you discover new wines and share them with others.
2022 Wine Trend Overview
While there are always wine trends to follow, there are also some overarching themes to be aware of this year. The first is a decided preference for lighter, crisper wines that pair well with food. People have spent the past few years honing their cooking skills, so they are excited about pairing meals with the perfect wine.
The second is that wine drinkers are increasingly interested in the integrity of the winemaking process and want to know how their wine is made and who is making it. Consumers are interested in the place, people, and story behind the wines they drink.
In recent years, there’s been a genuine interest in low- and lower-alcohol wines (less than 12%). One reason for the appeal is that people are working to develop healthier habits and have become more concerned about what they eat and drink. As a result, they may enjoy drinking wine but would prefer to minimize the effects of alcohol. Of all wine trends to follow, this may be one of the most beneficial.
Low-alcohol wines have other advantages, too. They are often a bit lighter on the palate, making them great summer sippers. In addition, wines that are lower in alcohol pair better with food, particularly spicy Asian and Mexican dishes. If you are someone who enjoys drinking wine with your meals, check wine labels to learn more about the alcohol content.
White Wine Resurgence
In addition to preferring wine with lower alcohol, the wine-drinking public also shows a greater interest in white wines. White wine is a natural choice for summer as it is served chilled (if not cold), and its lighter body and flavor profile offers refreshment in the summer heat. Among the wine trends to follow, knowing the differences between typical white wine grape varietals can help you choose the right wine for your meal or occasion.
- Chardonnay: This classic grape is planted widely in Burgundy, France (where it is often called “White Burgundy”) and California. Its flavor profile varies by how the winemaker chooses to handle the grape. Flavors of apple and citrus can be predominant in unoaked Chardonnay, while vanilla and buttery notes are more pronounced when the wine is aged in oak.
- Pinot Grigio: Also known as Pinot Gris, it is incredibly versatile, and the flavor profiles of wines made from it vary by region and winemaker. In Europe, these wines can be very crisp and dry, while those made in the United States are still dry but can be much more fruit-forward. As a result, Pinot Grigio is often a good choice for food pairing.
- Viognier: A slightly lesser-known grape here in the United States, Viognier can be a great option if you want richer white wine. Wines made from these grapes have a mouth-filling quality and may have flavor notes of honey and apple.
Rosé All Day
Rosé wine continues to be incredibly popular. Like white wine, rosé is served chilled or cold, often just the thing for hot weather. However, as with other wine trends, dry rosé wines are incredibly food-friendly and can make an excellent “default” wine if you aren’t sure what will be on the menu or aren’t quite sure about the pairing.
Contrary to what many people think, wine color results from contact with grape skins. This is why it is possible to make white wines from red or pink-hued grapes: The winemaker presses the juice from the grapes quickly, minimizing any contact with the skins. On the other hand, red wines are made by extended contact between skins and juice.
Rosé wine can be made in many different ways, but the most common method is for the winemaker to crush the grapes and then remove the skins when the right color and flavor profile have been achieved. This is why rosé wines come in a wide range of pink shades, from very pale to almost fuchsia.
Light Red Wines
While full-bodied, rich red wines will always have a place in the heart of many wine lovers, the trend toward lighter wines continues, with an increase in popularity of Pinot Noir wines and other lesser-known grape wines varietals. Lighter reds tend to be lower in alcohol and, as a result, more food-friendly, particularly when served with salmon, lighter pasta dishes, or charcuterie platters.
You may have heard that red wines shouldn’t be served chilled. In truth, many red wines are served warmer than they should be: Many wine experts recommend serving red wines at cellar temperature, 55°F, and lighter reds are often quite tasty when chilled even further. So when learning about wine trends to follow, don’t be afraid to experiment with the temperatures at which you serve your wines!
Of all the wine trends to follow, this is one that many winemakers have led. The use of screwcaps on wine bottles isn’t particularly new, but there was a stigma attached for years: Only cheap wine came in a screwcap bottle. Fine wine was always sealed with a cork. Times have changed, however, and many makers of fine wines use screwcap bottles, often arguing that screwcaps are a better, more reliable option for wines meant to be consumed relatively young (which is most wines). Consumers have come to embrace the trend as well, particularly for wine drinking during the summer: There are few things more annoying than bringing a bottle of wine to a picnic or outdoor event only to realize that you’ve forgotten your corkscrew.
Wine drinking should be about enjoying yourself. Of all the wine trends to follow, your enjoyment should be at the top of your list. So if you feel like you’ve been in a rut, try Sweet Oaks wines or schedule your next visit and tasting with us today!