The Wine Industry of Tomorrow

In January, winemakers, growers and experts from around the world met in Sacramento at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. One of the panels focused on the “industry of tomorrow” as it is becoming more and more clear how this next generation will buy and drink wine. Several discoveries and points came out of the discussion.

First, Lulie Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence, reinforced the industries need to aggressively market their wines in order to stay in the minds of millennials. However, as Halstead explained, it is not enough to just be present and loud in the market, an emerging marketing trend is transparency. New and old wine drinkers alike are drawn to authentic, honest, trustworthy brands — brands that advocate for their consumers and are upfront about the products they are putting out in the market. Another growing market are smaller size, or individual-serving bottles as it promotes a sense of ‘well being’ and control in addition to being easy to bring along to BYOB restaurants. Carrying an entire bottle around when you just want one glass of wine is a pain, and for a lot of wine enthusiasts, just one really good glass of wine is enough.

On the production side, winemakers are embracing technology and data driven operations. More data and better information can help winemakers and operations personnel make better decisions and prevent problems with their batches or their supply chain.

Additionally, new technology, such as a device that delivers an accurate and instant Brix measurement, real-time phenolic sensors, yeast cell-counting devices and “non traditional” equipment such as stainless steel wine barrels and wine on tap, are expanding the production playground. Mike Holst, senior director of operations at Cypress Semiconductor in Berkeley, insists that the American wine industry’s best asset in the wine competition is to innovate and remain open to new products that can lower production costs and improve wine quality. Sensor technology is currently being used in production process and at the vineyard to improve product quality.

Honesty, innovation and expanding technology are what will ultimately drive or halt the future of the wine industry. At Skolnik, we encourage winemakers and wine enthusiasts alike to step out of their comfort zone, experiment and try something new. Try new production and fermentation techniques. Try a 30 gallon stainless steel wine barrel or a new water-conservation method. Monitor the soil, canopy and crop at your vineyard. Or just pick up a new brand the next time you hit the store.

At the end of the day, we control the future of the wine industry; we are the future of the wine industry.