Instead of looking back at 2010, I’d rather look forward to 2011. Of course, I am not a guru and I will not try to predict in what shape the wine industry will be in 2011. But there are a few signs of what we might want to look at in the next few months: are there any specific trends we should keep watching?
The emerging markets, mostly China, were very much in the news lately. When in Shanghaï, I was amazed by the energy of the people and how fast China was catching up technologically. The wine business is a different story. A recent scandal about fraudulent and fake wines shook the international wine industry and put a certain damper on selling and buying wine in mainland China. The video of the Chinese authorities clashing down on trafikers was supposed to reassure the markets. Talking to my Chinese students gives me a more relaxed approach to the Chinese market. Young Chinese professionals are coming to Europe and the US to enroll in Wine MBAs programs or in tasting schools. They will go back to their country with a good knowledge of Western wines, will be able to teach the local wine consumers and become opinion leaders in the wine trade. The future of wine in China is bright.
My second line of thought for 2011 is on social media and blogging in the wine industry. Blogs are the basis of communication for a lot of wine professionals and consumers: producers, marketers, technicians, food lovers, wine lovers and many others. They constitute the main stream of exchanges between people and are now relayed by social media. No blogger can even consider writing a post without having it relayed on Facebook and Twitter, thus allowing the conversation to be carried out on more open shores. Of course it makes the blogger’s work a lot more complex as he/she has to answer comments on the blog, on Facebook and follow the threads on Twitter. Let’s not forget to mention the following of fellow bloggers who deserve attention for their brilliant articles.
Emerging markets and social media will get all my attention in 2011. I am absolutely certain that, in the Spring, I will have found many other more new trends to follow up and write about since the beauty of Internet is in its constant flow of innovation and novelty.