Merry, Happy! We are in the home stretch of 2017, so here we go. Fast and dirty-style: What worked in 2017 — some top-line themes and categories.
All views from the street, not the desk.
2017 – What worked?
I have to start large: I am calling the whole Retail category a winner. It was a good ‘un.
Even in this a super competitive retail landscape with moats forming around states and making out of state shipping an issue, enough people in this city are drinking at home to make Retail really roll. Maybe the customers are drinking to soothe the pain or to save a dime here or there, but either way, the competent retailers who served well made good business happen this year.
I wrote about the alt-format movement earlier this year, and we are still in the middle of a giant crescendo. Millennials aren’t the only members of the alt-format libation nation – it is bigger than anyone can imagine. Cans, Tetra-paks, 40 oz wine that isn’t actually 40 oz., and more, all slaughtered it this year. I see nothing stopping this train in the near future – full speed ahead.
The Sommelier Wine Brand (wines or otherwise)
If you buy mine, I will buy yours.
The Somm Brand was a Gargantuan mover of BTG placements and off of shelves this year. Sommelebrity + Sommpreneur equals #winning.
I love you, Alto Piemonte, for sentimental reasons.
Alto Piemonte is the little engine that could on lists and shelves this year and for my money, still wildly undervalued. AltoP offers vintage depth, spiced, lifted, lesser alcohol Nebbiolo (and Nebbiolo blends) that are just off in the fringe to many of the mainstream buyers on the green. But AltoP isn’t that far off. The upside here is huge, and I am all in. The patient believers in the area win, the bean counters abandon ship…
Somms like us buy things like this
If you were selling wine in 2017 and noticed this phenomenon, you probably moved an extra box or two (or hundreds). The hive mind of buying exists – especially since buyers are obsessed with having all the correct wine answers, at least for now.
One of the most magical regions in Spain got noticed this year by the Somm crowd – finally. And they like you Ribeira Sacra, they really really like you. The fact that this region has been doing under-the-radar well for years and is now being knighted by the Somm set is worthy of some attention. Who is deciding which regions are now deserving? And does it ultimately matter? There is gold in the answer.
“ Is there any way we as a community can kill the sabering champagne thing once and for all? Asking for a friend, again.
Huge year for Champagne in the city. Huge. All types did well, but Growers, in particular, got in the Octagon again and tapped more people out than ever before. The numbers the Big Houses did naturally dwarf the Growers, but the attention these smaller houses achieved was ginormous. Marguet, Laval, Bereche, Savart, Suenen, Pierre Peters, Gimmonet, Filaine, Brochet, Chartogne-Taillet, Dhondt-Grellet…the list goes on. These Champagnes were in all the right places.
Sidenote: Is there any way we as a community can kill the sabering champagne thing once and for all? Asking for a friend, again.
So many fairs, so little time. Every wine fair that was relatively well executed was PACKED. How did these cut through the noise of this busy market? It is all about the mission. Clarity in mission won the attention of consumer and industry – and deservedly so.
Tequila, Mezcal, and basically anything that could be called an agave spirit ran like the wind this year. Even brands that aren’t part of marketing machines had a more than fair chance to win a runner placement. We are working into the cycle of an impending agave shortage right now but I don’t see any slowdown coming, even with an imminent price increase or two.
And the Comeback of the Year is…drumroll…
Anyone remember this article: “Orange wine hits a wall” by Jon Bonné citing the Richard Betts article in Vogue “Why Tecate is Greater than Orange Wine”?
Up to as recently as early last year, I watched Orange wine barely register a heartbeat and then – the resurrection. Orange wine had a very good 2017. Praise poured out from the journalists in mostly annoying, trite articles about Orange wine – and I actually think it worked on the consumer. And, once customers start calling for it, you get a comeback.
Orange wine is back in the big show.