Opinion Piece: NZ Herald’s Wine Trends

There was a syndicated article in Weekend Herald edition of the New Zealand Herald on the 31st December 2016, an article on the year ahead for the wine industry, an article with origins in the USA, an article sub-titled “Bloomberg Markets wine columnist Elin McCoy uncorks wine trends for the coming year.

NZ Herald Wine trendsElin Mcoy is a respected wine journalist and author of The Emperor of Wine but as the article was published in the New Zealand Herald for New Zealand readers I ponder over some of Elin’s crystal glass visions for 2017 and how they relate to New Zealand keeping in mind:
(a) New Zealand has a flourishing wine industry and
(b) importers need to consider the pros and cons of following populous northern hemisphere trends when we are a remote water-surrounded country at the bottom of the southern hemisphere and price and value is very much the focus of most local wine drinkers.
Read Elin’s article in the NZ Herald here.

Elin’s crystal glass reveals
1. A wider world of great sparkling wine
She says,  “The quest for affordable fizz will lead drinkers to new choices.” She mentions Italy and Tasmania but I hope Elin and other USA wine drinkers discover New Zealand’s yummly bubblies :-) We make quite a few but the biggest seller is Lindauer in many guises, just $8.79 at Pak ’n Save and $8.99 at New World over the festive season. Hard to beat I reckon.

2. Hot Region – the Loire Valley
What is one of the Loire’s most famous whites? Sauvignon blanc. What is NZ’s most famous white? Sauvignon blanc. As much as I’d love to see more Loire wines in NZ – some of the chenins and cabernet francs especially, I just can’t see Loire becoming a ‘hot region’ here.

3. A boom in light red wines
Elin says it’s a progression from Rosé with light reds taking kindly to light chilling and mentions styles from Sicily, northern Italy, Alsace and Austria. But what do we actually have? There’s a smidgen of gamay noir, both local (e.g. Te Mata and Rippon) and from Beaujolais, and if only the top flight Lambruscos that I tried at the Eurovintage road show weren’t so expensive (sigh). Some of NZ’s pinot noirs could be considered light and fruity and I did enjoy a pinot noir served chilled on a blazing hot Central Otago day at the 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration but is there a culture barrier with NZ wine drinkers that will prohibit most from putting a ‘red’ in the fridge? Quite possibly. So for a lighter red I’d go cheap Spain as the lower the price and the lower the alcohol, the fruitier and less oaky (probably un-oaked) they are.

4. You’ll soon be drinking good wine from cans
I haven’t seen wine in a can on a New Zealand wine shelf yet although this press release from Misty Cove in Marlborough announced the first New Zealand wines (sauvignon blanc and pinot noir) in a can in July last year. Barokes, an Australian wine company, has been producing still and bubbly wine in a can for yonks. I’ve tasted the range and I thought most of them pleasant enough but I never had a reply to my email asking them if the cans were going to become available here.

It’s definitely more popular in the USA and last year, when I was in Washington with winelover friends Jenise and Bob I tasted the canned version of Underwood Oregon Pinot Noir – a pinot that would also fit the light red wine brief. I think quality wine in a can is a great idea especially for picnics and camping / tramping holidays where you take your rubbish home with you.

When you consider how enthusiastically New Zealand producers adopted the screwcap, could the same will happen with the can? What is needed is for the producers and importers to get on board and while it is too late for this summer, next summer starts in December 2017 so we will just have to wait and see.

Underwood CanWine review: Underwood Oregon Grown Pinot Noir – tasted May 2016.
Colour: Light ruby. Clear. Translucent.
Bouquet: A little confectionary. A touch of cherry. A touch of cough drop. No sense of oak.
Taste: Not too bad actually. Drinkable for sure. Reminds me of a full-bodied Rosé with light tannins adding grip to the finish. Can definitely relate to Pinot Noir but a light quaffing style.
It’s marketed as exactly the same wine as in the Underwood bottles with the cans selling for US$28 for a pack of 4.


Opinion Piece: NZ Herald’s Wine Trends — 2 Comments

  1. Wine in a can is nothing new. Goes back about 40 years and is tried every decade or so. Hasn’t taken off so far but perhaps craft beer in cans might push it along but I don’t see it.

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