Vegan and organic are the wine trends for 2019 '“Â Alistair Gibson
One of the great joys of wine is that there is always another wine, grape or region to discover, so here weÂ are in 2019Â and I wonder what the year will hold for us.
Gazing into a crystal ball isÂ never particularly easy but here are few of the wine trends that I think we will see coming our way this year.
I hate toÂ start with my wine glass half emptyÂ but there is no doubt it is going to be another tough year for the UKÂ wine trade and, in turn, the consumer.
There is another duty rise just around the corner, sterling hasÂ continued to struggle and although in general harvests last year were bigger than the previous year theÂ knock-on effect is still in place so sadly prices will rise, and I've already seen many in the pipeline.
So thisÂ year's mantra from a number of different levels probably should be '˜drink less, but drink better'.
I think one of this year's big wine stories is going to be the continuing rise of organic wine.
The past fewÂ years have seen incredible growth in the organic food and wine sector and there is no doubt this willÂ continue to grow, consumers are increasingly wanting to know where their wines come from, how theyÂ are grown and made.
Organic wine is no longer the preserve of a few crusading vineyard owners, it's muchÂ more mainstream now with some of the world's leading producers pulling up a chair at the organic table.
Some of Bordeaux's most famous chateaux have declared themselves organic, including Chateau LatourÂ which is now certified organic.Â Chateau Palmer has gone biodynamic andÂ more willÂ follow.
Organic wines are now available at more price points and without doubt this is being led by consumerÂ demand and a desire by producers to think about the environment and sustainability.
I am sure vÂ egan wine will continue its growth. More and more wines are now labelled as veganÂ but actually there are many more vegan wines on the shelves than you may imagine.
FÂ or some reason producers do not add that information even though their wines may well be vegan.
In termsÂ of regions and grapes that will capture our imagination this year, Greek wine is getting a lot of industryÂ attention and I expect to see many more Greek wines available on the shelves, Waitrose and M&S areÂ already there and others will follow.
Hardly new, but English wine will continue to grab many headlines. 2018 was a brilliant vintage and while the sparkling winesÂ Â won't be seeing the light of a day for a few yearsÂ yet it was, in the words of one prominent vineyard owner,Â '˜the vintage of my lifetime'.
Two wines to kick off 2019 then, RAW, Spain (Â£8 Co-op) or Really Awesome Wine is a blend of verdejo, airÃ©n and sauvignon blanc and it is both organic and vegan, so probably ticks all those new year boxes.
It is very enjoyable with fresh citrus andÂ apricot notes, a nice zesty finish and very good value for money.
Malbec is a grape now associated withÂ Argentina but Irresistible Malbec 2016, Bio Bio Valley (Â£7.95 Co-op) shows that Chile can also work withÂ this very fashionable grape.
It has lots of dark fruits, some spice and a lovely fresh finish.
It's anotherÂ vegan wine and very wallet-friendly to start the year.