Grape expectations: Some wine predictions for the New Year

Millennials are fast becoming the largest wine-drinking population, eclipsing the baby boomers and accounting for 30 percent of wine drinkers. (For more on “Gen Wine,” see our companion website “What does this mean for wine in 2017?” asks Wine Cooler Direct. “Labels are continuing to get more creative and whimsical, biodynamic wines are in the hotseat, and price points are coming down.”

In the past year alone, canned wine sales have nearly doubled, according to Nielson date. “We fee like drinking wine doesn’t have to come with all of the pretension that it often does,” according to Union Wine Company, one of the fastest-growing names in canned wine. Other names include Porch Pounder of Templeton on the Central Coast.

“What’s that wine doing in a whiskey barrel?” writes Chicago Tribune wine columnist Michael Austin. “A few winemakers are playing with the practice of aging their grape juice in whiskey barrel.” Examples include the 2014 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon from Monterey County. “This wine is rich, full-bodied on the palatte, and the 2014 vintage delivers flavors of black cherry and blackberry,” according to Beverage Dynamics’ tasting notes.

“The popularity of natural wine over the course of the past few years is impossible to ignore, and it’s surely going to continue into 2017,” according to Wine Cooler Direct. In our region, Smith Vineyard’s wines are organically grown. Smith’s 2013 Primitivo from Nevada County was named “Best in California” and “Best of Class of Region,” and it won a Double Gold medal. Smith also won a Gold for its Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bronze for its Merlot.

“Folks will be more interested than ever in the background and story of the wine they drink, who made it and what their story is. Is the wine organic, biodynamic, etc. Likewise, consumers continue to seek genuine wine products and experiences,” says Doug Paul, owner of Three Sisters Vineyard at

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