We’ve already looked at the trends that we expect will affect the Italian wine industry as a whole during 2019.
But with this article, we want to dig a little deeper and take a look at the various trends that will affect you, the consumer. In particular, this article focuses on the younger consumers among you who may have just started to explore the world of Italian wine.
Here’s what we think 2019 will have in store.
Brand Loyalty Won’t be a Major Factor
When it comes to the young wine drinker, packaging definitely matters. Younger people generally take more visual content in on a daily basis than any other generation of wine lovers before them. This means that they’re looking for things that will catch their eye in the sea of things that want their attention.
Italian winemakers are going to have to adapt to that. We’re expecting drinkers to show less brand loyalty during the course of 2019. Instead, young drinkers are more than likely going to want to experiment with different wines and they’re likely going to be drawn more to the packaging and the visual elements that the wine offers over the name of the producer.
Interestingly, this raises a number of possibilities for small producers. We’re seeing a rise in the use of more indigenous grape varieties used in Italian wines. A particularly savvy smaller producer may be able to use clever packaging to pull in younger drinkers and start to develop a reputation for themselves.
Organic Wine Will Still be Loved But May be in Trouble
We’ve seen a definite trend towards organic wines over the last five to ten years. This is mirrored in all areas of the food industry, as going organic is often seen as the healthier choice.
The Italian wine industry has responded to this, with many producers now offering organic and biodynamic wines to satisfy the appetites of the younger consumers behind the push towards more natural products.
Now normally, we’d say that 2019 will be another great year for organic wines and that they’re likely to be more popular than ever before among younger drinkers.
However, there’s a slight wrinkle that may need to be overcome. Recent EU legislation has placed limitations on the amount of copper that can be in food and drink products. That’s an issue for organic wine producers as they spray copper to avoid peronospera. They use even more of it during the less rainy seasons, which is something we’re seeing more of thanks to climate change.
The point is that these copper restrictions may change the way that organic winemakers work and may even prevent some from putting out the same volumes that they have in recent years. So while demand from your Italian wine drinkers for organic products may grow, it’s possible that this legislation may lead to the industry struggling to keep up.
2019 will certainly be an interesting time for the organic side of the industry and we’re interested to see if an alternative to copper spraying becomes available in order to meet the demand for organic wines.
Canned Wines Will Grow
We’ve spoken about canned wines and how traditionalists view them almost as sacrilege.
But there’s no denying that they’re increasing in popularity, especially among younger wine drinkers. Between June 2017 and June 2018, sales of these types of wines rose by over 40% and they’re becoming more popular in the States.
Italy is certainly behind with this trend, not least because many producers will naturally turn their noses up at wine in a can. But you can’t deny the numbers. If this upward trend continues, we may see a couple of Italian producers try their hands at making canned wines. And if they do, there are sure to be a few young Italian drinkers who want to try them just to see what they’re like.
So our prediction here is that canned wines will continue to grow in popularity throughout the world and we may just see a few of them start to get introduced into Italy as products for younger drinkers who aren’t so tied to the ideas of tradition that older drinkers may have.
More Drinking In
This is a trend that we’ve seen over the last few years and we don’t see 2019 being any different.
The simple fact is that more young drinkers prefer to grab a nice bottle of wine and enjoy a night in with their friends over going out for drinks at bars and restaurants.
While this certainly doesn’t mean that the bar and restaurant scene is going to die out anytime soon (young people do still go to these establishments), it does mean that we’re likely to see a lot more wine being purchased for home consumption.
It’s pretty simple maths that lies at the heart of this trend. It costs less money to buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it at home than it does to buy the same amount of wine when you’re out on the town. The mark-ups alone are enough to leave many young people with the desire to stay at home.
This is mixed news for the industry. On one hand, producers that thrive on selling wholesale to bars and restaurants may find themselves struggling. However, those who focus on the retail market or who sell their wines individually may find that they see a boost in sales.
The Final Word
It’s difficult to predict exactly where younger Italian wine drinkers’ tastes lie for 2019. There’s the continue push towards natural wines that’s seemingly going to be tempered by the EU. Staying in is definitely the new going out, which means young Italian wine buyers are likely going to give a boost to the retail market.
Then there are the less tangible trends. Brand loyalty will become less of a factor among younger drinkers as they start to explore more of what the industry has to offer. And we may see something that traditionalists look at as a gimmick become more popular during 2019.