As 2021 comes to a close, DCanter presents to you our predictions of what’s in and what’s out for the wine world in 2022.
2022 Wine Trends
by Michael Warner
As 2021 comes to a close, we perform our annual ritual of contemplating what we enjoyed over the past year, and what we can look forward to in the year to come. To that end, DCanter presents to you our predictions of what’s in and what’s out for the wine world in 2022.
Dry January is Out, Year-Long Moderation is In
Wellness trends will continue in 2022 as wine enthusiasts continue to examine what goes into their wine, how the grapes are grown, and the sustainability practices of the wineries that make them. Of course, sustainability is important for all of our healthy habits, and the constant yo-yo effects between alcoholic abstinence and bacchanalian nights isn’t healthy for anyone.
The practice of dry January has always been problematic in that it reinforces an all-or-nothing approach and makes good wine feel needlessly sinful. Instead of going cold turkey this January, many wine lovers will embrace habits that make sense year-round. Commitments to limit oneself to a single glass of wine in the evening will become the preferred way to enjoy a drink. The practice accomplishes the goal of limiting consumption to a healthy level, it slows us down in the evening, and it helps us disconnect from the home office. As an extension of this trend, expect half-bottles of wine to increase in popularity as couples embrace lower consumption together.
Piquette is Out, Port is In
The increasing popularity of minimal intervention natural wine over the past few years increased the demand for almost any wine that was a little cloudy, a little rustic, and maybe even a little tart. Enter piquette, a thin wine made by soaking grape pomace leftover from the initial wine fermentation with additional water. The process is a bit like making stock out of leftover trimmings, as both are clever ways to squeeze a little more flavor out of scraps. Historically, Piquette’s low quality meant it was largely ignored by the wine community as it lacked the rustic charms found in other reimagined foods, such as stews or sausages. Recently, however, some winemakers have chosen to capitalize on the success of natural wine and sell this clever use of leftovers at prices approaching or even surpassing those of their free-run wines. Not surprisingly, wine drinkers noticed and decided they don’t like paying a lot for wines that frequently lack the nuance and drinkability of more traditionally-styled wines.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Port, a classic style that has long been known for its quality and complexity of flavor. Moreover, the limited number of Port producers compete primarily on quality and jealously guard their prized sources of top-rate fruit. While it’s true that a bottle of Port will cost more than a typical bottle of wine, it’s also true that Port wines remain drinkable for two to four weeks following opening, so you have plenty of time to savor the treasure inside. The strength of the wine’s flavors opens a world of food pairing options and practically begs clever sommeliers and chefs to collaborate on new and surprising flavor combinations.
“Clean Wine” is Out, House Wine is In
We’ve seen a lot of marketing over the past few years about “clean” or “fit” wine, usually matched with celebrity endorsements of dubious health claims. The constant whiplash of information takes a lot of the fun out of wine drinking whilst not providing any useful drinking advice.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the home is full of creature comforts, and familiarity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Wine is no exception, and a dependable house wine that you enjoy and don’t mind imbibing most evenings is every bit as satisfying as freshly-baked sourdough. Not every bottle has to be an event or an experience, and sometimes we just want something tasty and dependable. As many of us eat out less but entertain small groups at home more often, expect a good, all-purpose red or white to be part of the party.
Champagne is Out, Cava de Paraje Calificado is In
You must’ve heard by now – France has had a string of tough vintages, and there is now a shortage of Champagne. Not surprisingly, prices have increased, and now we’re all looking for alternatives.
Fortunately, a few of the very best Cava producers have introduced a new quality tier called Cava de Paraje Calificado. The rules for the designation are strict: the grapes must come from a single vineyard with mature vines, farmed organically, aged for a minimum of three years, and be produced in only dry styles. As a result, you end up with Cava that, in many ways, matches and sometimes exceeds the quality of many Champagnes. As a bonus, Cava de Paraje Calificado generally costs less than Champagne, so your wallet will be nearly as thankful as your taste buds.