It is that time of the year where we are wont to provide predictions for 2012; that and make resolutions, but I will save those for this weeks Top 5. I’m no different as I have my own predictions for the year to come.
This will be very curious year as we will see price increase and an equal number of price decreases.
Increases will come in BC wines, specifically white wine. The last two vintages have been small in terms of tonnage and when supply is restricted that means prices will go up. Look for the first round to happen in February/March 2012.
Price increases will also happen for Washington State, Oregon and California wines. The economic indicators are showing that the American economy is in recovery. That, combined with the problems in Europe, will mean that the American Dollar will rise in relation to the Canadian Dollar and that means price increases. Look for these to happen by the summer but most dramatically in Fall 2012.
The increase in the value of the US Greenback also means price increases for those nations trading with the US Dollar. South America, New Zealand & Australia commonly us the US Dollar and I would suggest that the price on the shelf for these wines will increase as well.
Beer will not be immune to increased prices. Both our local brews and imported brews from the US will see a bump. Increased hop, malt and glass prices will inevitably create increases in the price of your favourite beer.
While we are speaking of beer the other thing that will create increase in prices is what I see as an intangible. Craft Beer now represents 40% of our beer sales and yet the 650mls and 6 packs all seem to play in a very thin price zone. I predict that the creative minds in the brewing industry will let their imaginations run wild and we will start to see amazing things but with prices tags representative of the quality of the ingredients and scarcity of the production. 2012 will see the first $15 domestic Craft Brew 650ml and $20 Craft Beer 6 Pack, alas not until the last 3 months of the year.
As for price decreases look for European wines to take a drop as the value of the Euro will continue to take a hit. If you are a lover of the wines of Southern Italy, Southern France, La Mancha Spain, you will be over the moon. These areas always have an excess of wine so you will see price decreases. The glamour zones of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Barolo, Brunello and Rioja will maintain their prices as their brand equity is tied to premium pricing. A reduction in price would only mean and reduction in status.
There are few things bubbling that will become the hot categories in 2012.
The first of which will be low-hopped beers. The pendulum is swinging away from super-hopped beers and moving towards malt focussed brewing. Look for an explosion of Scotch Ales, oak aged beers and brews that label that they are low or no hops.
In the wine world I see sparkling wines hitting their stride. You will start to see lots of quality sparklers hit the market in affordable price points (Under $20) that will make Sparkling wine an everyday event. I, for one, am greatly looking forward to this.
I also see a resurgence in Chardonnay consumption; we may even see a spike in Chard’s that have undergone barrel fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation and barrel aging. Butter Popcorn here I come.
Pinot Grigio will start to slide in terms of popularity as there are just too many pedestrian versions out there and the consumer will no longer see bang for the buck in watery plonk.
Rum will continue to grow in popularity. More specifically small batch, full bodied, full flavoured rums will grow. These will become popular at the expense of light bodied white rums and a multitude of over priced whiskys (sorry but it’s true).
This is a tough one as any game changers will not come from a winery, brewery or distillery. Rather the game changes will come in the political realm.
Bill C-311 will become law allowing wineries to ship wines for personal consumption across borders. This will be the first step and, I hope, will see the same changes when it comes to beer and spirits as well. Why is a beer made in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario or Alberta considered an import anyway?
Here in BC the game changer will be political. There is an election in May 2013 and I suspect that some simple, but fundamental changes will happen over the next 12 months. Don`t ask what as I have a record of 0 of 100 when it comes to political predictions regarding our industry. In fact it is possible that the biggest story of 2012 will be the non-story, or the fact that nothing will change at all.
Anyway that is what is in my opaque crystal ball. In the meantime let`s raise a glass to 2012. Cheers
There will not be a Wine Talk for Jan. 2, 2012 as I am planning on taking that week off.