What will the wine trade look like in 2034?

27 January, 2014

The wine industry must innovate to stave off the growing threat of craft beer, flavoured cider and cocktails over the next 20 years, according to Wine Intelligence.

It warned that these categories could outfox wines with more engaging packaging and stronger marketing budgets.

International wine fair Prowein celebrates its 20th birthday this year and to mark the event the organisers commissioned the British research firm to investigate what the global wine market will look like 20 years from now.

Wine Intelligence spoke to 111 global wine experts and industry insiders and found that 29% said regulations pose the biggest threat to the wine trade, with many predicting alcohol would follow the same path as tobacco regulation.

With 17% of the vote, the second biggest threat was seen as competition from rival categories.

Wine Intelligence said: “Spirits have a greater opportunity to innovate in packaging due to less concern with issues such as oxidation.

“In terms of marketing and communications many wine industry professionals feel that the wine industry can learn from the branding strategies of other drinks.”

It warned that in the UK in particular craft beer and flavoured cider would eat into wine’s share of the BWS category.

This prediction echoes the sentiments of Tesco wine boss Dan Jago, who told OLN recently that cider and spirits are doing more to capture drinkers’ imaginations and the wine market will lose consumers to more engaging drinks if it does not innovate.

Wine Intelligence said packaging will become far more important to wine by 2034, with UK marketing experts anticipating “diversification and increased innovation in terms of format, particularly to drive sustainability”.

Along with more convenient packaging, by 2034 we will have seen the rise of personalised packaging, according to the experts Wine Intelligence polled.

When asked which sub-categories will grow, sparkling gained the most votes, followed by lower-alcohol and alcohol free products, organic and biodynamic wines, and wine-based mixed drinks.

Fortified will be the big loser, with 76% of the retailers, producers, trade bodies, journalists and marketers polled predicting it will decline.

The report, titled The International Wine Industry: Global Experts’ Vision 2034, predicted supermarkets would increase their dominance over the wine trade.

Independents will only survive if they shun big brands in favour of boutique producers, and the on-trade will continue to shrink, according to Wine Intelligence.

Meanwhile producers will ramp up their focus on direct-to-consumer sales to fight back, while e-commerce will continue its upward march as mobile technology improves.

When asked for the five global markets that will receive the most investment, just 3% chose the UK and Ireland among their picks.

The US and Canada was the top choice, followed by China, India, Latin America and eastern Europe.

The report also said that consumers will have shorter attention spans in 20 years’ time compared with today. This apparently means the consumers, not the producers, will rule the wine industry in 2034 as the trade fights to engage shoppers emotionally.

Around 4,700 exhibitors from 50 countries will pour wines on March 23-25.

The trade can enjoy Koshu wine from Japan, which is making its Prowein debut, while other highlights include a “California Road Trip” tasting from the California Wine Institute.

There will be 300 tastings and lectures hosted by exhibitors, along with WSET events and a panel discussions of the report on the 2034 market.

Last year the event attracted more than 2,000 visitors from the UK and the organizers are hoping for more this year, but warned everyone to plan their schedules rigorously beforehand to avoid missing out on key meetings. 




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