My Wine Predictions for 2010

by Tim Elliott on January 2, 2010

Despite my fairly checkered past in making predictions for the coming year, I am back with another batch. I think 2010 will be a transformative year for the wine business and for wine blogging. The economy will show improvement by the summer which will reverse the “nuclear winter” we have seen for the sales of high-end wines over the past 18 months. But there will also be some surprises in 2010:

The Return of the Luxury Wine Segment – It’s been a tough year for wines above $35 a bottle. In fact, Mike Grgich recently commented he had never seen a more challenging year in his 50 in Napa Valley. But that will change as the economy gains strength and American consumers vote with their wallets. There will continue to be a trend toward value but those $60-80 Cabs will start to sell again.

Wineries Integrate Social Media Marketing – As I mentioned in my review of 2009 yesterday, social media was one of the big trends last year with wineries tweeting and connecting with customers on Facebook. This will be the norm by the end of 2010 with social marketing fully integrated into the go-to-market plans of wineries of all sizes. No longer will it be, “nice to do,” or something to get an edge on competitors. Social marketing will be a requirement for growth by the end of this year.

Wineries Will Go Mobile – This is the next frontier as mobile, local and social all converge on smartphones such as the iPhone. Apple’s forthcoming tablet will also change the way consumers use the web to learn about wine and also buy it. Early adopter wineries are already working on their mobile strategies; by year-end nearly everyone will be playing catch-up as this space heats up.

Wine Bloggers Will Discover Business Models – We have seen the rise of the “professional” wine blogger in the past couple of years and I expect more of us will discover how to turn our hobbies into cash. No, it will not be a full-time living for most, but it will be a significant enough incentive to create content on a regular basis. Some will cry foul as monetization can lead to conflicts of interest but there will be several bloggers who will figure this out.

A Major Wine Print Publications Will Fold – OK, so this is my outrageous prediction for the year. And I don’t think this casualty will be the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast or newsletters like the Wine Advocate. But the times are changing and I don’t see a great future for print wine magazines particularly after new technologies that fundamentally redefine what a magazine is hit the market early this year (e.g. Apple iSlate or whatever this will be called). I hope to see some true innovation in online wine coverage, too.

So that’s all I’ve got this year. Let me know what you think in the comments. I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2010 (and that’s, “twenty-ten”).

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  • http://www.drinknectar.com @nectarwine

    These are great predictions. Can I quote you for the wineries and social media "No longer will it be, “nice to do,” or something to get an edge on competitors. Social marketing will be a requirement for growth by the end of this year." for blog I'm posting on Social Media?

    Great stuff. I certainly think that some major publications will fold over the next 3-5 years, even one of the ones you mention.

    Josh @nectarwine (twitter)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

      Josh: Sure, remix the quote as you would like and let me know when you post. Cheers!

  • http://www.judgerock.co.nz Paul Jacobson

    Situation is different in New Zealand.
    Predictions are-a retreat by the corporates wine producers as they sell more bulk sauvy overseas and undercut themselves and the rise of the family producer with loyal customer following.
    Judge Rock Pinot Wines
    Central Otago
    New Zealand

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

      Thanks, Paul. I would also hope to see New Zealand Pinot and Cab blends get some additional traction in the American market. After all, man can not live by SB alone ;-)

  • http://winedrip.com raghav

    I think you've correctly forecast the rise of mobile. Many wineries are preparing to launch mobile programs and DTC conferences provide coverage in 2010. I would note "going mobile" doesn't require a large investment or a smartphone app. For small businesses, text message, which reaches a broader audience and available on virtually all mobile phones, not only integrates location-based targeting, the web, and voice but also is cost-effect and quick-to-launch.

    happy new year!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

      @raghav: Good point. I'll have to learn more about your service; looks interesting.

  • http://www.wine-searcher.com/ Adon Kumar

    The power of social media is an easy prediction. Our Wine Searcher Facebook http://www.facebook.com/winesearcher has grown to nearly 80,000 fans is under one year.

    I will be sharing our Social Media experience at the Wine Entrepreneurs Conference in two weeks time in Washington DC See http://ennect.com/e880/p6222.aspx

    I wouild like to add another prediction. More and more wineries and wine stores will have their presence online while maitaing their bricks and mortar stores.

    Adon Kumar
    President
    Wine-Searcher.com

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

      Adon: My focus is almost entirely on wineries since they are who I mostly work with. But your point about wine shops is a good one. I would think it is somewhat of a two-edged sword for them, using social marketing to improve traffic to their stores but services like yours tend to drive prices down for their online sales. Not that I'm complaining, as a consumer I use Wine-Searcher quite a bit to find the best values.

      Hope to see you again at a conference this year. Cheers!

  • http://smartxel.com smartxel

    I was just going thru the list of your 2010 prediction and most of them are true. Check out the mobile app we created for the wine enthusiast.

    myWineCatalog – Your own Wine Spectator at your finger tips. Catalog your wines by vintage, varietals and more. Rate your wines and share them with your friends using SMS. Check out “myWineCatalog” mobile app on Android Market.

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