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5 wine predictions for 2022

As another year begins in the grip of the pandemic, local retailers are looking ahead and stocking their shelves to be in sync with what they forecast wine-lovers will want in 2022.

We talked with two local sellers — Barry Herbst, wine director of Santa Rosa’s Bottle Barn, and Drew Goodgame, assistant manager of Santa Rosa’s Wilibees Wine & Spirits — about their predictions for this year. Here are five behaviors they say will continue in 2022.

1. Wine-lovers are exploring the full range of wine, from traditional varietals to exotic wines.

“There’s a lot of growth domestically with traditional varietals like trousseau, petit sirah, aglianico, fiano, French Colombard, vermentino and ribolla gialla,” Herbst said. “There’s also a lot of interest in aromatic Spanish whites like albariño and godello.”

2. Natural wines have piqued wine-lovers’ interest.

Natural wines are typically produced from organic or Biodynamically grown grapes, inoculated by naturally occurring yeasts with little interaction in the cellar, aside from adding a little sulfur for stabilization. (Biodynamic farming is a holistic approach to farming, without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.)

“Natural wines continue to gain more popularity as people begin to be more confident that they will not be funky or foxy,” Herbst said.

3. There’s growing interest in low-alcohol wines.

“Lower alcohol wines (8 -11% alcohol by volume) are increasingly popular,” Goodgame said. “Younger people are driving this. There’s a whole ‘sober-curious’ movement centered around nonalcoholic cocktails. There are now some very good products on the market readily available.”

4. Sparkling wine sales continue to soar.

“People are definitely spending more on sparkling wine,” Herbst said. Referring to 2021, he added, “We’ve had our best year ever.”

5. People have a bigger appetite for wine when they spend more time at home.

“People are staying home and not going on vacations to Europe, New York, etc., where they would spend that money out of state,” Herbst said.

As we retreat into our homes once again due to the current surge, some of us have more time (and disposable income) to explore wines across the board. So if you’ve never tried a natural wine before, here are a few to sample: Fres.co or Fresh Wines, Raft wines and Las Jaras. Wines.

If low-alcohol wines are new to you, why not try a few? Tasty brands include Sovi, Brancott Estate and Leitz. As for sparklers, it’s time to see what all the excitement is about. Here are three brands that will impress you and your friends: Iron Horse, Domaine Carneros and Roederer Estate.

As we encounter what looks like will be another challenging year, you can keep your glass half full with something entirely new.

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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