Just like gray, wine is emerging to be the new black. How did it come to be? Well, in this post, I will try to point out some of the compelling reasons.
Let me be academic in my arguments so I would begin with establishing my, er… thesis statement(?)
The “new black” expression denotes a new trend, fad or style of the moment. Never mind that black is supposed to be a classic and, hence, should never be out of style. But, I digress. Wine is the “in” thing now and people of all shapes and colors are embracing it happily as their liquor of choice.
The best empirical evidence is, of course, the uptick in wine consumption. The world is seemingly so taken with wine that a wine shortage is increasingly becoming apparent. You might be tempted to say that, yeah sure, this could just mean that collectors are collecting more or new markets have just been penetrated like the case of China. But, I assure you, this is not entirely the case, thank you very much. In a very authoritative study, for example, it was found that Millennials are providing the greatest increase in the consumption figures. More and more people ages 21 to 26 reportedly drink wine, even eclipsing other age demographics in drinking frequency. This is important because wine is traditionally associated with the oldish, the moneyed and the cultured bunch.
In addition, wine consumption is also becoming more diverse. For example, the American Wine Market Council found a drastic increase in wine consumption in the African American, Asian American and Hispanic segments of the population. These demographics were found to prefer drinking beer in the past.
There are of course valid arguments against my thesis. First is that the wine industry is still confined to its little box brimming with own prejudices and snobbery. This supposedly turns off the masses or, keeps wine from the general public. Jonny Forsyth published a very well written article exploring this theme. He focused his analysis on the British wine industry. He pointed out, for instance, that many Britons have cultivated “sweeter tooth” in recent years, with consumption of anything that has sugar in them increasing by as much as 31 percent. Forsyth argued that wine makers, wine traders and the wine elite refuse to accommodate this public preference, stubbornly maintaining that drier wine is better and sweet wine is bad, period.
Certainly, people can find a thousand things to say for each point that I would be able to put forward. And I could also do the same to other people’s point of view and it not necessarily in a tit-for-tat kind of way either. But here is the thing: the numbers will not be able to lie. There is a growth in the global wine consumption and such growth is transpiring across all consumer segments. I would be amenable to the argument that it could be a mere trend, a temporary blip in the ongoing liquor-consuming narrative. But wine could also be THE new black, end of story. It would depend on the decision makers of the industry. They can take advantage of the momentum and entrench wine in the consumer culture. If that happens, wine is here to stay.