Sheri Hebbeln
 
December 30, 2013 | Sheri Hebbeln

Wine trends to watch in 2014

Whether 2013 was a good year for your winery or you're looking forward to better prospects in 2014, it's time to start preparing now. Maybe you already have some resolutions for January. With a number of new trends set to emerge next year, you may need to reassess your wine marketing strategies. Here are some developments to watch in the next year:

1. Wine consumption is set to increase
In 2013, Morgan Stanley released a report that predicted inadequate global supplies of wine, sending many wine enthusiasts into a panic. Industry experts have disputed these findings, especially after a large California harvest, and this may have had the ultimate effect of driving up wine sales, according to Wine-Search. In fact, 2013 could be the wine industry's 20th consecutive year of growth - in spite of the recent recession. 

But higher wine sales aren't guaranteed, especially with legitimate competitors emerging in the market in the form of craft beers and specialty liquors. It can be particularly challenging for wineries to reach younger consumers because this group likes to sample a variety of beverages and may not be loyal to a specific brand. 

2. You can't ignore social media anymore
If you want more customers to buy wine online, pretending social media doesn't exist is no longer an option. Wineries have traditionally shied away from these platforms, but Facebook and Twitter can help you connect with a new consumer base. For example, Richard Betts, a well-known sommelier, released a scratch and sniff wine book that climbed its way onto the New York Times' bestseller list because of promotion through Twitter, Wine-Search said. Wine lovers are already using these channels, which means it's time for wineries to catch up.

Social media is highly effective for providing speedy customer service, and short-form content on these platforms may become more popular in 2014, Business Insider Australia said. Consumers are more interested in real-time advertising, and platforms like Twitter make this possible. In addition, word-of-mouth referrals from social sites can be a huge source of new business. 

3. Tablets make a big splash in retail POS
Commerce is constantly accelerating, so you can't let an out-of-date point of sale system drag you down. Tablets can help you offer a more convenient experience in the tasting room, plus this can streamline the process of sending customer information to your CRM system. 

4. Expect more bidders at auctions
Wine auctions experienced more bidding in 2013, a trend that's set to continue into 2014, Wine-Search stated. Companies in every industry have had to contend with more empowered, knowledgeable customers, and wine is no different. Buyers are more interested in wine storage and origin. However, this trend can be very good for wineries because consumers are more interested in purchasing cases directly from producers' cellars.

5. Wine selection isn't as simple as white or red anymore
As mentioned in the first point, people have more diverse tastes than in the past. Consumers are starting to drift away from champagnes in favor of other sparkling wines, and there will be greater emphasis on emerging regions and wines, such as New York state riesling, according to Wine-Search. 

As tastes change, how they are influenced may shift as well. In the past, esteemed wine critics could play a major role in how successful a particular wine was. Now a place on a well-known wine list can drive sales. Sommeliers are rising as influencers in the wine industry, and (again) social media is significant for this purpose. These are all things to consider if you're looking to increase online wine sales.

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