What does 2020 hold for wine? | Alistair Gibson

We’ve seen the end of another year and not only the start of a new one, but also the start of a whole new decade.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 2:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 3:47 pm
Bird in Hand sparkling pinot noir wine.

Gazing into a crystal ball and looking into the future is never an easy task but here are a few wine trends, in no particular order, I think will be pouring in 2020.

Rosé has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence over the past few years and it has been led by that palest of rosés from Provence.

Now it seems that almost every wine-producing region is producing a pale rosé – from Rioja to the Barossa Valley.

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I have tasted some really good examples that should ensure that Provence doesn’t have it all its own way.

Though our thirst for Provencal rosé continues to grow, French luxury goods company LVMH – which already includes such wine brands as Veuve Clicquot, Krug and Cloudy Bay in its portfolio – has just acquired a controlling stake in Château d’Esclans.

Château d’Esclans produces Whispering Angel, one of the most famous wines in the region, and also produces the most expensive wine to come out of Provence, Garrus, which sells for more than £100 per bottle.

So don’t expect the Provencal rosé bubble to burst any time soon.

Organic wine and, to a lesser extent, natural wine, has also seen huge consumer growth in the past few years and there is absolutely no doubt this will continue.

With my wine wholesaler hat on there is now not a single restaurant I supply that doesn’t include an organic wine on their list and many now have a range on offer.

I firmly believe consumers are not only interested in the provenance of the food on their plate, but also the wine in their glass.

Organic wine is becoming much more readily available at all price points and in all styles, which I think has been reflected in this column during the past year – from sparkling wine to port.

On the subject of sparkling wine, England enjoyed another good harvest in 2019.

Although not on the same level and perhaps quality as 2018, this bodes well for wines being bottled in the next few years as English fizz grows ever more popular.

It’s not just a flag-waving exercise, some of the world’s finest sparkling wines are being produced on the South Downs – from Kent to Hampshire.

Lastly, the subject of climate change is never far from the news and if you want to see its impact then the wine industry is all the proof you need.

From the aforementioned English sparkling wine which we can now produce partly because of climate change, to the terrible consequences of the fires in Australia which have devastated many vineyards in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.

I spent an evening this year with Kym Milne MW, winemaker at Adelaide Hills winery Bird in Hand. While they have not been affected as badly as some, my thoughts have been with them.

As a way of support, perhaps we should be buying wine from the Adelaide Hills this week.

Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir 2019, Adelaide Hills (Waitrose £15.99, Hermitage Cellars £12.95) is made in a similar style to prosecco and proved to be one of the most popular sparkling wines I showed at tastings over the last year.

It’s great fun, would make a lovely aperitif, and is the sort of wine you should keep in the fridge just in case.

Happy new year to you all.