Talk to people in the wine business, and the subject always comes up: “What’s going to be the next big thing in wine?”
The catch, of course, is that people in the wine business are usually wrong when making these kinds of predictions. It’s not that they aren’t smart or don’t know their business. It’s that they don’t have enough perspective. Restaurant types usually don’t have a good grasp of the retail market, for example, while winemakers are usually focused on what’s going on in their region and nowhere else.
That lack of perspective is why sommeliers always insist that gruner veltliner, an Austrian wine that hardly anyone has heard of, is going to be the next big thing, and why so few people realized what was happening with livestock wines (cheap brands with cute animals on the label) until the trend was well underway.
There’s a good example of this groping in the dark in a post on the Wine Economist blog. Which, come to think of it, was probably the point of the post.) What struck me, and especially in reading the comments, is that the speculation about the next big thing, which included torrentes and moscato, was based on guessing what consumers want. What the speculation didn’t take into account was whether the supply chain existed for the next big thing. Are there lots of those grapes? Do winemakers know how to work with those grapes? Does the pricing math work? More, after the jump: