Global Wine Trends and Market Insights 2024

Pouring Over Predictions: What's next for the world of wine


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In the ever-changing world of wine, keeping a pulse on global market trends and preferences is crucial for industry insiders. The Wine Trade Monitor 2024 by Hopscotch Sopexa, now in its tenth edition, offers a comprehensive outlook on what's shaping the wine market landscape across nine pivotal markets: Canada, the United States, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, and South Korea. This deep dive, fueled by the insights of nearly 1,000 industry professionals ranging from importers to distributors, sheds light on the anticipated market evolution over the next 24 months, leveraging a methodology that has stood the test of time over 15 years.

The Lingering Charm of Old World Wines

Old World wines, particularly from France, Italy, and Spain, continue to charm the palates and preferences of wine traders globally. France leads the popularity contest with 88% of operators stocking French wines, followed by Italy at 77%, and Spain at 72%. While Italy enjoys a robust presence in mature markets, its allure seems to fade in China when compared to French wines. Conversely, French wines boast impressive penetration rates across several markets, including an 83% presence in Canada, 80% in the Netherlands, 81% in the United States, and a staggering 88% in China. Italian wines, though slightly trailing, maintain a strong presence, highlighted by a 79% rate in Canada and 75% in both the Netherlands and the United States, but dip to 58% in China.

Belgian professionals, on the other hand, are keen explorers of new wine origins. In 2024, they ventured into an average of 7.2 different origins, a noticeable increase from 6.4 in 2021. Wines from Argentina, Chile, and Greece are gaining traction among Belgian traders, with 51% selling Argentine and Greek wines, and 46% opting for Chilean varieties.

Market Projections: A Mixed Bag of Expectations

The industry's outlook is a cocktail of anticipation and caution. About 24% of professionals foresee market progression, while 49% predict stagnation, and 27% anticipate a decline. Sales expectations are equally diverse, with 40% optimistic about growth, 39% expecting a standstill, and 21% bracing for a downturn. Despite the somewhat gloomy forecast, France and Italy emerge as beacons of growth potential, closely followed by Spain and Portugal.

Interestingly, smaller-scale buyers are more optimistic, with 28% of those purchasing fewer than 10,000 bottles a year predicting growth, compared to just 11% among those acquiring over a million bottles.

Trends to Watch: Sustainability and Online Sales

The surge in online wine sales is undeniable, with 53% of respondents anticipating growth in this sector, against 40% expecting stability and a mere 7% predicting a decline. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important, with 23% of operators focusing on carbon footprint reduction, 19% on natural resource protection, and another 19% on biodiversity respect. Low-alcohol wines are carving out their niche, particularly in Germany, Canada, and the UK.

Consumption trends highlight a preference for naturalness (organic, CSR, natural wines), innovation (low-alcohol, vegan, orange wines, pet' nats), and a more pronounced price segmentation from premium to entry-level offerings.

Diverse Preferences in Wine Origins

When it comes to sales growth by origin, white wines from Loire, Languedoc, and Marlborough; reds from Languedoc, Bordeaux, and Rhône Valley; and rosés from Provence, Languedoc, and Italian Rosé are in the spotlight. Marlborough shines in China and South Korea for white wines, while cava makes a unique stand, particularly against prosecco.

The grape varieties driving the demand for still wines include chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir, with significant country-specific variations. Authenticity, as reflected in the winemaker's approach, terroir, and craftsmanship, plays a pivotal role in driving sales, especially among wine merchants.

Sparkling Wines: A Fizzy Competition

In the particularly vibrant segment of sparkling wines, a fascinating competition unfolds among various denominations, each with its unique identity and market appeal. Cava emerges as a standout performer, with 55% of professionals indicating its category as one of growth, surpassing prosecco, crémant, and even the illustrious champagne. This trend points toward a consumer preference for sparkling wines that offer excellent value for money, authenticity, and a diversity of styles. Cava's rise in popularity suggests that consumers are increasingly seeking out alternatives that don't compromise on quality or complexity, despite being more economically accessible than traditional choices like champagne.

Crémant is also gaining traction, highlighted by a preference for sparkling wines that offer a different experience from the omnipresent champagne. With 50% of professionals noting its growth, crémant's appeal lies in its ability to provide quality and complexity, a testament to consumers' willingness to explore beyond the familiar territories of champagne and prosecco. Champagne maintains its status as a symbol of luxury and celebration, though its growth is more moderate, likely due to its higher price point and consumers' curiosity about other quality, yet more affordable, sparkling wines.

Bottle Formats and Packaging Innovations

The classic 75cl bottle remains the most popular format, though there's a noticeable shift toward smaller formats and a decline in larger formats and Bag-in-Box, particularly in Europe. Packaging innovation is largely centered around the 75cl bottle, with 68% of professionals expecting growth in classic bottles and 24% in lightweight glass bottles.

The screw cap is solidifying its position as an industry standard, demonstrating growing acceptance not only in Anglo-Saxon markets, where it has already been popular, but also in more traditional markets. This trend underscores a shift in perception towards a greater openness to packaging innovations that combine practicality with quality preservation.

The Authenticity Factor

Authenticity is highlighted as a key driver of wine sales, with 85% of respondents agreeing that an authentic approach by winemakers significantly enhances the commercial performance of their wines. This sentiment is particularly strong among wine merchants, while large-scale distributors, including supermarkets and hypermarkets, show somewhat less agreement. This emphasis on authenticity reflects a consumer demand for products that offer not just quality, but also a genuine story and production practices that are respectful of the environment.

The Big Three: Global Wine Consumption Trends

The report highlights three overarching trends influencing wine consumption worldwide, each reflecting broader societal shifts and preferences:

  1. A Thirst for Naturalness: There's a growing appetite for wines perceived as more 'natural.' This includes those with organic, biodynamic certifications, or those produced following sustainable practices (CSR). This trend mirrors a heightened environmental consciousness among consumers, who are increasingly seeking products that are not only healthier but also kinder to the planet.
  2. The Rise of New Offerings: The wine world is becoming more diverse, with rising demand for low-alcohol wines, vegan options, orange wines, and pét-nats (pétillant naturel). These products cater to specific consumer niches looking for unique experiences and choices that align with particular lifestyles or dietary restrictions.
  3. More Distinct Price Segmentation: The market is seeing a more pronounced stratification, with a clear distinction between premium wines and entry-level offerings. This suggests that consumers are exploring a variety of price ranges, from affordable everyday options to more luxurious and exclusive experiences.

Navigating Social Responsibility: What Matters to Operators

When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), priorities vary among operators, with key areas of focus including:

  • Reducing Carbon Footprint: 23% of operators view minimizing carbon footprint as a priority, reflecting concerns over the environmental impact of wine production and distribution.
  • Protecting Natural Resources: Closely related, 19% of respondents emphasize the importance of protecting natural resources, which includes practices like sustainable water and soil management.
  • Respecting Biodiversity: Another 19% highlight the significance of preserving biodiversity, advocating for practices that allow vineyards to coexist harmoniously with natural surroundings, thereby avoiding monoculture and promoting a diverse viticultural ecosystem.
  • Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Though to a lesser extent (7%), promoting diversity and inclusion is also recognized as an important CSR dimension. This reflects an interest in equitable labor practices and representation of minorities within the wine industry.
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