5 Predictions for 2016

February 25, 2016

We speak to some of Australia’s top winemakers, distillers and drinks professionals to uncover their hot predictions for the year ahead.

Curious as to what the next big thing in Australian wine will be? Wondering what to expect in the wonderful world of whisky, or how our drinking behaviour is expected to change in 2016? We find out what some of the top trend predictions are from those in the know.

Home cocktails make a comeback

David Vitale, Founder of STARWARD says "There is a growing trend for drinking whisky outside of the traditional occasion."

"The last place you’d find STARWARD is beside a tweed jacket and a fireplace. There is ongoing demand for single malts in bars, cocktails and everyday drinking. In 2016, our drinkers will be equally as diverse."

David also expects to see a growth in home cocktails, both in cocktail making and general cocktail consumption, minus the bar. "While interest in quality cocktails is now well established in Australia, we are seeing a return in demand for drinking cocktails at home. In response to this trend bars, such as ‘The Everleigh’ in Melbourne, have started to produce bottled cocktails for takeaway consumption."

"We have also just launched our own limited edition, cask-strength Old Fashioned with great praise from STARWARD fans. Educated drinkers want interesting, well-balanced classics they can simply stir-down over ice and enjoy year round."

One to try: STARWARD Solera Edition Whisky

Ginger beer as an alternative to beer and cider

Kye Livingstone from Harcourt Valley Vineyards says he is "Seeing a huge demand for The Ginger Kid Ginger Beer."

"People are looking for different alternatives to beer and cider. Ginger beer evokes feelings of nostalgia in the older generations as they can remember their grandparents brewing it. The product is very versatile, can be used to make many different cocktails or just enjoyed purely on its own."

"The demand from Asia is growing too as it goes with many Asian style dishes."

One to try: The Ginger Kid Extra Strong Bottle

More full flavoured spirits

"Trends are always a tough one to predict, but we’re certainly seeing at our distillery and bar that customers are moving towards richer, more full flavoured spirits," says Will Edwards, Founder of Archie Rose Distilling Co.

Will explains, "What this means is that a lot of previous vodka drinkers are starting to embrace gin, non-whisky drinkers are beginning to explore the lighter end of the whisky and rum spectrum and seasoned gin and whisky drinkers are looking for more interesting botanicals and malt/cask combinations respectively."

"For us [Archie Rose], we’re always experimenting with new botanicals, malts and casks, and love opening up our distillery and sharing the spirit production process with our customers, so hopefully this trend towards flavour continues for some time."

One to try: Archie Rose Signature Gin

Aligning drinks more closely to occasions, and Rose goes mainstream

Our very own Trade Planning Managers for Wine here at Vintage Cellars, Andrew and Sarah, say that many of us will move towards pairing our wine with the food we’re eating and the occasions we’re celebrating, instead of self-identifying as a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, for example. "Be adventurous, match a dry Riesling to dessert or sip a small glass of fortified wine with a cheeky scoop of gourmet ice cream."

They also see alternative varietals playing a big part in 2016 drinking habits, "Alternative varietals in red and white continue to attract the attention of the market, bring on the malbec, the tempranillo. Prosecco isn’t going away any time soon either."

"Keep an eye out for the smaller Champagne Houses too - those who grow for the likes of Moet and Taittinger also keep grapes for their own private labels. Rose will go from strength to strength likely emerging out of trend territory, and into the mainstream." 

One to try: Deep Woods Harmony Rose

2016 – The year of Grenache?

Andrew Kay, Managing Director and CEO of Wirra Wirra Vineyards predicts great things for Grenache.

"We’ve been watching interest in Grenache - both blends and straight varietals - grow with wine enthusiasts over the past 18 months and this might be the breakout year," says Kay.

"The diversity of styles on offer now, from the more old school, bigger bodied numbers, to the fragrant, feminine offerings are showcasing the versatility of this grape." Kay also sees growth in smaller format bottles. "I think the demand for good quality half bottles and potentially 187ml size will continue to see that category expand," he says.

One to try: Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Red Blend

Michael Twelftree, Proprietor & Managing Director at Two Hands Wines also anticipates a bright future ahead for the Grenache category.

"At Two Hands we have firmly put our toes in the Grenache camp to gain more prominence in the Australian consumer landscape, since 2010 we have built a range of six single vineyard Grenache's under our Twelftree label from individual sub regions in McLaren Vale, Clare and Barossa Valley."

"With greater care taken in the vineyard with regard to crop load and early sunlight to promote tannin development and a very sensitive hand in the winery, we are thrilled with our continued refinement and the soft, texture and silky tannins across each wine."

One to try: Two Hands Angels’ Share Shiraz