The Flexibility and Popularity of Red Blends

Cabernet is no doubt the favorite child of the red wine family, but according to Nielsen’s recent reports there’s a rising new favorite, and it isn’t a specific grape varietal at all. Red blends are currently sitting at number two according to Nielsen’s US measurements, but they have been steadily gaining steam and soon may overtake the King Cabernet.

Red blends used to be a small enough slice of the pie in the U.S. market that they weren’t even measured on their own, they were lumped together with sweet reds. But now, red blends make up 11% of the market share by volume in U.S. food stores and other large outlets.

Gladys Horiuchi, director of media relations at The Wine Institute in San Francisco posits that red blends are gaining popularity “because they are approachable wines with smooth, round mouth feel.”

In America, wine drinkers have a stronger allegiance to a wine’s varietal or type rather than its region. The Fortune magazine suggests that the boone in popularity of red blends might be a numbers game as much as it is a flavor or taste game. The more varietals an American consumer sees listed on a wine label, the more likely that they’ll see their favorite and give the blend a chance.

In truth, there are likely a variety of reasons why the red blend is rising in popularity. Blends give wine makers flexibility, an opportunity to experiment with new flavors or perhaps make up for a less than adequate harvest due to the changing and often unpredictable climate. As manufacturers of stainless steel wine barrels, we’re particularly fond of innovative winemakers and are proud to provide a tool that grants them even more flexibility.