The new year is a great time to expand on an existing interest, or pick up a new hobby. Wine collecting is no exception, and with many new trends and technologies on the horizon soon, 2022 is an exciting year to add to your cellar of fine wines. Here, Steve King from Bottled & Boxed picks out the key trends in fine wine for 2022.
Over the last few years, many wine enthusiasts have shifted their primary interest from red wine to sparkling wines, champagne, and lighter white wines. So, while the archetypal image of a collector’s wine might be a deep red, 2022 is an excellent year to invest in lighter wines and explore ageing white wines to achieve intriguing, unique flavours within your collection.
Champagne can be aged for as short a time as 2–3 years, or for as long as 4–10 years to create a beautiful vintage. If champagne hasn’t formed a big part of your collection thus far, now is a good time to begin ageing some quality champagne stock.
There is also a growing interest in sustainable methods of winemaking, and collectors are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about wines that have an eco-conscious narrative behind them. Many wine enthusiasts are taking the time to find out how the wine is made, and learn the stories of the people working in the wineries and vineyards. So, look for some new winemakers who are using sustainable materials and processes, and creating new ways of working that are kinder to the planet.
For example, many luxury winemakers are now using thinner glass bottles for this reason. Traditionally, heavy glass bottles were used in winemaking to signal a luxury vintage, but increasingly lighter bottles are set to become a high-end trend. They weigh less and so require less fuel to ship, reducing the environmental impact of the wine.
Skin-contact wines — where the wine is made by fermenting grapes with the skin on — are going to grow in popularity in 2022. These wines are sometimes known as ‘orange wines’ due to their colour, and sales have been increasing in the past few years, particularly vintages from Italy and Slovenia.
These wines are becoming more popular as they offer an interesting story, and increasingly consumers of fine wines are intrigued by pleasant narratives as well as beautiful flavours. This has not only led to a growth in skin-contact wines, but also natural wines, and wines from regions less well-known for their winemaking, such as Portugal.
The world of winemaking has long adhered to a set of rules defining what constitutes each type of wine. Factors considered include the types of grape, whether the skins are left on during fermentation (maceration), and the location of the winery or vineyard. However, an emerging new generation of wineries are creating beverages that don’t fit into strict definitions.
Some of these creations include fermenting both red and white grapes together (known as co-ferments), and macerated white wines. The resulting beverages are ripe for experimentation with ageing, and offer a new area for experienced wine collectors to explore.
Now that many of us have become more tech-savvy during the pandemic, many people are looking further afield to buy fine wine for both consuming and storing. This means that wine collectors looking to sell their bottles after ageing will have a wealth of consumers to connect with all around the world, as people venture beyond the recommendations of their neighbourhood wine merchant.
Developments in technology have also brought new dimensions to wine collecting. One such invention is the new high-tech wine storage wall brought to the market by WineCab, which uses AI to offer advice on things like storage temperature and security settings. It even comes with a robotic arm that can reach for the vino you select, essentially acting as your personal sommelier. You can enter the food choices you’ll be eating, and then get a personalised recommendation for the perfect wine to go with your meal. This could be a wonderful addition to your wine storage, and is a modern alternative to a more traditional wine cellar.
So, if you’re looking to make a return on your investment, reach out using online platforms and build your network internationally this year. If you are searching for wines to consume and age for drinking with friends and family, explore wine collectors and merchants further afield.
The world of wine collecting is developing constantly, and this year is no different. Invest in new technologies, international reach, and experimental creations this year to enhance your wine cellar for either personal use, or a return on your investment.