Allegrini 2018

How Wine Intelligence trends change for 2020 after the pandemic

Consumption will drop, sustainability disappears from the radar, as do South African wines, and the packaging revolution is for bag-in-boxes and cans
Global wine trends for 2020 ... updated

Needless to say, forecasts of what the world’s wine 2020 would be like, presented by Wine Intelligence in December 2019, have been swept away by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has upset any global consumption trend. Yet, forecasts are still needed, perhaps more than before, because understanding the impact and effects of the global crisis on wine, as on any other production sector, becomes fundamental to face the near future and move into the mists of a cloudy present. And then, something remains of the five forecasts for 2020, starting from the fact that it would have been a difficult, passing year, and indeed it is so, certainly worse than expected, but not to be completely invalidated the trends identified by Wine Intelligence, which are still to be “updated”.
The first trend to take into account, in the current context, is that of a decrease in global wine consumption: it will be so, without doubt, but for reasons very different from those expected. A good thing, if we want to give a positive reading, that is that it will suffer less than other consumer goods, such as coffee, dinners at restaurants and luxury, also thanks to some peculiarities that nobody, besides wine, has: with the impossibility to travel and enjoy their free time, a bottle of wine is often seen as a way to escape, in an uplifting way also from the intellectual point of view, keeping a good dose of fun even if forced at home.
What is paying the price for the global crisis, however, is the focus on sustainability. This does not mean that it is not an important aspect, to which wine consumers are paying increasing attention, but in the general context it is not, at least for the moment, at the top of the list of concerns. We will have to wait until the health and economic emergencies are behind us before returning to focus on a revolution that is still barely mentioned, but which is fundamental for our future, and not only for that of wine.
Among the forecasts of Wine Intelligence remains the slow advance of wines infused with CBD, i.e. cannabidiol, one of the two main cannabinoids of hemp. It is a niche, as already said in December 2019, that will take years to establish itself, but the debate on the subject is always lively and open, and the search for natural remedies for health care, all the more so after the Coronavirus pandemic, could give the decisive push in this direction.
On a stylistic level, Wine Intelligence suggested that 2020 would be the year in which consumers would turn to wines generally lighter, fresh and aromatic whites, relaunching great productions such as German Riesling and wines from Greece, Portugal and South Africa, as well as rosé wines from regions other than Provence. All in all, the forecast is still standing, even though it is to be verified in the next months, with an actor that is playing hard to get: South Africa, where anti Covid measures have imposed important restrictions to the wine sector, since the production level, thus affecting the possibility of a relaunch on the global market of its wines.
Finally, the last aspect concerns packaging, and this is, all in all, still a valid prediction. Wine Intelligence had predicted a shift towards lighter containers with a lower environmental impact, starting with the bottles. Actually, what are changing are mainly bag-in-boxes and cans, the two formats made more popular, for transportability, by the lockdown, with the glass bottle that, with closed premises and restaurants, has gone into the background in terms of innovation, but the trend, in the long term, of lightening all containers, remains valid. And then, there is the brand's recognisability and attractiveness, which has become even more important in the lockdown: with little time available for shopping, standing out among the many bottles on the shelf is fundamental.

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