Feature from Neil Anderson, Marketing Director


The five key trends that will drive wine in 2018

The wine industry has evolved; the people we make wine for have evolved and adapted their needs and requirements. Thinking that just describing the terroir, talking about the winemaker and banging on about “our history” is going to win over wine consumers is outdated. What consumers care about is how it tastes e.g. if it’s refreshing, how the product makes them feel and how the label and bottle engages with them. The opportunity to strengthen wines engagement with UK consumers is very significant indeed.

Consumers have changed and the wine industry has to keep up with their ever changing needs and develop wine products to meet these changing consumer occasions. We need to stay close to the consumer and emerging key trends or get left behind.


Using our leading edge consumer insight (WinePRO) tool, we understand the consumers and we know what they are seeking. We act on this quickly and as such we are able to supply our customers with the right opportunities that consumers will want and engage with.


So, the 5 key areas of change that will affect the wine category are around:

Changes with “brands” and their role

We know that branding is a critical part of selling any product, but for years in the wine industry it’s been secondary to showing things like terroir and heritage on the label. We’ve started to see through some of the more innovative brands in the past year that it’s the brand that really matters when engaging the younger millennial drinker. Shelf standout that causes an emotional response will become even more important in 2018. We have a number of new brands coming to market next year and we’ve really listened to consumers and taken our cues from trends that matter to them when it comes to brand design. Key change that has been happening in the past few years is a move away from “too many big brands, doing too much of the same thing, offering the consumer VERY little differentiation”. The shift in the make-up of brands is well underway!



Taste Taste Taste

We know that it’s the label, look of wine and engaging copy that might get the bottle picked up, but it’s the taste that will keep consumers coming back for more. Taste is highly dependent upon the consumer, the need and the final occasion. For years, some in the industry turn their nose up to “attractively priced, sweeter products”. But, they need to look at our WinePRO research… consumers love sweet. This can be from sweet solutions for the “wine experts” or “adventurous consumers”, but also younger consumers coming into the category.  Older consumers have a sweet tooth too! This has led to an increase in fusion and fruit based alcoholic drinks. We’ve been pioneering this for the last 2 years and have delivered both retailer exclusive products and our own brands; Mr Gladstone’s Curious Emporium and Live. Next year we’ll see more innovative, premium fusion products and engaging, exciting flavours, interesting wines and engaging varietals that taste amazing!


The need for Refreshment

This is key for consumers, as shown in our WinePRO research and 2018 will see even more focus on fizz in specific response to this need. We’ve developed a ‘super soft fizz’ product using our proprietary carbonation line and our consumer tasting research in partnership with Wirral Sensory suggests that this will be a major area of growth for 2018.


Size – it can be important!

We know that format will be a big area of innovation next year. Single serve and ready to drink formats as well as pouches and bag-in-box will all feature more on shelves. Finding new ways to make wine accessible for a wider range of occasions and consumers will be key next year. We’ve had great success with Live Pouch; not only is it portable, but the wine stays fresh for up to 4 weeks once opened. 


Bulk will only get bigger

The economic uncertainty and negative changes in FX due to Brexit have already increased the cost of importing bottled wine and this is likely to continue for some time. The UK bulk wine industry will become even more important and growingly embraced as a cost effective way to distribute quality wine from around the world. Critically, bulk wine importing will continue to provide the best way to give consumers what they are seeking – variety, quality and value, which is ultimately the only way to grow the category.