Three hundred and sixty four days ago I wrote up a list of predictions for the wine industry. Like many past years, I had great plans for this blog and podcast and was looking foreword to trying some new things. But as it turned out, 2010 was a difficult year and nearly all of my enthusiasm for this new start evaporated and the year passed with few posts and not even a single podcast.
So as we welcome 2011, I am returning to try some of those new things but also return to the essence of what inspired me to start this podcast up some 6 years ago. But before posting a new audio recording I thought it might be good to revisit by past predictions and see how I did. And then never try such foolishness again.
As I recall, I tried to be somewhat less aspirational last time in order to not look too ridiculous a year hence. So how did I do?
The Return of the Luxury Wine Segment – While its too early to claim a full return for wines over $35 a bottle, 2010 did see some growth in this segment. But “the new normal” will be different than before the market went off the cliff in late 2008 with consumers being more choosy in their purchases. When the final sales figures come in I would be surprised if this prediction didn’t come true, however.
Wineries Integrate Social Media Marketing – This was sort of a gimme going into the year, and we did see some growth in this area in 2010, but it is still early days before social media marketing truly goes mainstream in the wine industry. I’ll still give myself this point as nearly every winery is doing something on the social web today.
Wineries Will Go Mobile – 2010 was the year of the iPad and smartphone but few wineries did much with this platform. I expect 2011 to be the year of the tablet with a lot of iPad clones being introduced next week at CES. Although I think there will be some interesting developments in this space over the next 12-18 months, I will give myself a miss here. Perhaps my vision got the best of me on this one but watch for the combination of mobile, local and social this year.
Wine Bloggers Will Discover Business Models – To be honest I have not kept that close to this subject so I don’t really know if wine bloggers are making any headway in this area. What I do know is wine bloggers like Joe Roberts at 1WineDude are taking a stab at it. Best of luck, Joe; show us the way. I’ll call this one a miss, even if it might have been premature, too.
A Major Wine Print Publications Will Fold – I’ve been hard on wine print magazines partially because I don’t read any of them anymore. But no major wine publication closed it’s doors in 2010 so this one is a big miss. But I still think there is a big opportunity in creating a new type of wine publication tuned to the digital medium as more people consume news on tablets and smartphones. Since even mainstream magazines haven’t figured this out yet I don’t think any wine magazines will anytime soon either.
So 2 right and 3 wrong; about par for this sort of thing here. But as I mentioned, I do think at least a couple of my misses might prove correct in the coming year. And, no, I will not make any more predictions in the future as I plan to take this blog and podcast in a slightly different direction. Stay tuned.