What will 2017 bring for Spanish wine?

Opinion piece by William Long of Long Wines, first published on LinkedIn.

2017 has kicked off with unprecedented uncertainty in the markets, Trump, Brexit…none of which have made my job setting yearly forecasts and budgets any easier.

One thing that is certain, Spain will continue to need to remain competitive in terms of pricing, offer stylish packaging design and shout loudly about its differences. Here are a few trends that we expect to become big this year:

Sparkling wines outside Cava

Sparkling wine sales continue to grow on a worldwide scale, particularly lighter and fresher Prosecco styles. With limits to the Prosecco DOCG and growers in Penedès reporting a very small harvest (read more here) Cava prices are already looking to rise and suppliers will be looking to source elsewhere. Tank fermented wines from Castilla La Mancha stand to gain, particularly when packaged in the attractive way that the target – mainly female market – is looking for. We are currently working on an exciting new project so watch this space.

The Rueda backlash

Despite a record harvest last year in Rueda prices have remained high after the short 2015 vintage. Suppliers are already looking to Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc blends from more competitively priced areas, such as our Catanga range, which as well as offering the fresh and fruity style that consumers love, is also certified organic, and the affordable Airen-Verdejo blend in our attractively packaged Castillo del Rey range.

The trend for Garnacha

As Sarah Jane Evans MW set out in this March’s issue of Decanter, the grape that was seen as little more than “cheap and cheerful” has “turned into a cool and stylish adult” and “the trendiest grape in Iberia”. As well as El Botijo Rojo Garnacha tinta and Garnacha roble, made by Long Wines’ winemaker and MW student, Fernando Mora in the IGP Valejalón, we also distribute Las Carlinas Old Vine Garnacha from DO Campo de Borja in Aragón – the birthplace and heartland of the Garnacha grape.

We expect to see interest in this grape, which has so much to offer in terms of aromas and elegance when grown in the right site, continue to grow throughout 2017.

Tradition and heritage

It is well know that in times of uncertainty consumers look back to the security of the past, so Spain, one of the world’s oldest wine producing countries can take advantage of its wealth of historic and cultural selling points. From the old vines used to make Las Carlinas Old Vine Garnacha , to the castles that feature on the excellent value Castillo del Rey range, Spain is well placed to capitalize on the trend for tradition.