10 Wine Trends to Watch for in 2022
Here are the major wine trends that international experts predict for wine consumption in 2022.
To chart the future, it’s necessary to look back and in this case, thinking about 2021, this is a set of trends that I believe can very likely also happen in Portugal.
Some are already out there and will continue to shape the trajectory of the wine world on the world stage in 2022 – regardless of what the year may bring.
Remember that although the consumption of wine worldwide has declined, in Portugal it only dropped by 0.6% between 2019 and 2020. We continue to drink the most, 51.9 liters per capita in 2020.
It’s therefore expected that wine consumption will continue this year or even increase with extra help from tourism.
Here are the major trends that we expect will emerge here as well, giving you a sneak peek at what the new year has in store for you as a wine enthusiast.
1. Discovery of other regions
The option of choosing wines in a store or restaurant is increasingly diverse and now goes far beyond the classic regions such as Douro, Dão or Alentejo for white and red wines. The possibility of buying online, sometimes directly from the producer and the media, has awakened wine lovers to regions such as Trás-os-Montes, Beira Interior, Algarve and Azores.
You can't pretend that price has nothing to do with it, these “new” regions often offer wines at much more affordable prices than others in the same range.
And just because for a few months you have been hearing about red wines from high altitudes from Beira Interior or white wines from volcanic soil in the Azores, doesn't mean that there is no history behind the producers, or that the vines have just been planted. Let me tell you that some brands have been around for several decades. They are wines with history!
And as wine lovers are naturally curious, here is the opportunity to expand your wine horizons.
Lesser-known grape varieties and regions will be on the rise in 2022.
2. Drinking fresh red wines
You’ve heard this before, don't drink a red wine above 18ºC, but what I mean by fresh is to put light and fruity reds in a bucket with ice.
Wines with few tannins without ageing in wood, from grape varieties such as Rufete, Castelão, Bastardo, Jaen, Tinta Miúda, Negra Mole drunk at 15ºC can be incredibly refreshing.
These are wines that may have been vinified in stainless steel, amphorae or (and here I hope it is the big trend of the year) Palhete wines. “Palhete” is a Portuguese term for Claret wine.
The consumer drinks more and more white, rosé and sparkling wines and the decline of red wine will be inevitable.
Today there are whites with as much complexity as a red wine and we haven’t talked about Orange wines yet. Rosés are getting more serious and, at the same time, they can be fun at the table and super gastronomic. Some people drink them all year round!
Finally, sparkling wines begin to take place at the table of the most enlightened wine lovers. Especially the Extra Brut and Brut style. If there is a question “white or red”, in 2022 it will include “rosé, Palhete or sparkling wine?”
3. It will be the year of organic wines
We are more aware of the food products we buy, we want to know where they come from, how they are produced and by whom. And all of this becomes more and more a factor to be taken into account when choosing a wine.
As the number of certified Organic wines increases, you no longer need to go to specialized stores or supermarkets to buy them. It will most likely be the number one trend of 2022.
4. Expansion of “natural” wines
Whether you like to drink them or not, “natural” wines will continue to gain popularity and ground. In addition to the fact that the number of exclusive shops and bars selling these wines will continue to increase, the trend for 2022 is for these wines to be introduced into the wine lists of restaurants that until now only offer conventional wines. Same for wine stores.
The consumer's curiosity about what a “natural” wine is and how it’s made is great and most consumers will end up realizing that wine has always been made this way. One thing I'm sure of though, no one is indifferent when drinking one of these wines.
Exploring a variety of alternative winemaking approaches and techniques (minimalist and ancestral), these are wines made without a firm definition.
They are somewhat difficult to fit into the designations of quality or even according to color. That's why I hope that in the Wine Lists with conventional wines, the “natural” wines all come together. The union makes the strength and in this case, it will facilitate the choice.
Get ready, “natural” wines will no longer be a marginal niche and will expand into new markets.
5. Prices will rise
The scarcity of raw materials, labor shortages, delays in the delivery of imported goods (imagine a stainless steel vat that does not arrive in time for the harvest), adverse weather conditions, increases in fuel prices... will inevitably lead to an increase in Portuguese wine prices in 2022.
6. Bottles will get lighter
Glass as a raw material is another point to consider as a trend for 2022. Excessively heavy glass bottles will go down in history.
The enlightened consumer knows that it’s not a sign of the wine's quality that the bottle is heavy or has a very concave bottom.
The point is that glass bottles work very well from the point of view of wine communication, convey security by reflecting the values, tradition and quality of wine and look good at the table.
In addition, consumers consider glass a “sustainable” form of packaging. For it to be true, you just need to put the empty wine bottles in the glass.
More and more producers are aware of sustainability. Among other measures, they opt for lighter bottles, as they cause less negative environmental impact. Especially when considering large volumes of wine or even exports, it will take less fuel to ship lighter bottles.
A standard bottle (75cl) with a typical weight of 500g, accounts for 29% of a wine's carbon footprint. However, as you know, there are many bottles that weigh substantially more, almost 1 kg in some cases, which brings the bottle's share of the wine's carbon footprint to close to 50%.
A lightweight bottle substantially reduces the share of packaging – by about 1g of carbon per gram of glass, depending on the proportion of recycled glass used.
Also at points of sale (supermarket chains), the reduction of the carbon footprint is often one of the annual goals that the company has to meet and thus “demands” the same from its suppliers.
So don't be surprised if the bottle seems lighter to you.
7. We will continue to drink at home
Think of all the wines you’ve bought to drink at home in the last two years and you’ll most likely discover your “house wine”.
It’s that wine that is always reliable. You don't have to drink it every day, but you go back and forth to it. Whether for a drink at the end of the day, with a meal or watching a series on television at night.
Do you already know what it is? I almost bet you didn’t drink it regularly in 2019…
If you already had the habit of drinking wine at home, since then you've certainly been drinking other wines, maybe you're even investing a little more for a bottle of wine, whether it's 2€, 5€ or 10€ more.
Drinking higher-priced wines at home is another trend that will continue into 2022. At the very least, more expensive than normal.
With fewer trips to restaurants and fewer vacations, the budget for your moments of pleasure has been transferred to the home. Although there’s a tendency to drink less while traveling abroad, when you do though, it’s usually of higher quality.
Will you continue to drink common wines in 2022?
8. Wine tourism
Another big trend for this year, visiting wineries, vineyards and maybe shaking hands with those who make the wine you love to drink. And on your way back, you bring some bottles of wine to drink at home.
Direct contact with wine production, the possibility of having a meal on the farm or even sleeping there is irresistible for any wine lover.
Before 2020, 10% of tourists who visited Portugal came exclusively for reasons associated with wine tourism. The destination at the time was mainly the Douro and Alentejo region.
For those of us who live here, with in an hour drive, you can find your self at the door of a wine cellar. That's why you don't need to take a vacation to do wine tourism, you can do it on your day off or on the weekend. Enjoy!
9. Innovation will continue!
High volume brands will become more innovative in the type and styles of wines they make, in the format (canned wine) as well as non-alcoholic or low-alcohol wines. Especially now that there’s European legislation to be called a wine.
It’s a way to reach a young or non-wine consuming audience.
Without great success in the domestic market in 2021, some Portuguese producers have had excellent results in exports (USA, Brazil).
I would like to take this opportunity to mention canned wine-based cocktails and perhaps the only trend related to fortified wines, more precisely, Port Wine.
Yes that's right! The Port & Tonic and the Pink & Tonic. Two ready-to-drink cocktails in a 25cl can with about 5.5% vol., the same as a beer. Ideal to keep in the fridge for when you have unexpected visitors or want a refreshing drink.
10. The Rise of Cider
As there’s no tradition of cider making in Portugal like there is in England, France or Spain, which even has the Denomination of Origin Asturias, some winemakers here play brewers with very interesting results.
The ciders (fermented apple juice) I’ve tried tasted dry and very acidic, with very little gas. Totally different from what is on the market (supermarket, bars).
They’re invariably sold in 75cl bottles with a cap or cork stopper (sparkling type) with an alcohol content of around 7% vol. and what a pleasure they give at the table!
It's a delicious drink and definitely worth trying in 2022 with cheeses, pates or with a meal.
Wine has an ancient and rich history. And today it’s experiencing a modern, innovative and fascinating period. There’s recognition for the past and care to preserve it. Consumers have never been so enlightened and producers have never been so close to their customers before in the last 30 years.
Which of these trends is already a habit for you?