Matthew Clark predicts quirky labels and grapes for 2016

The new year will be all about fun, according to Matthew Clark, which predicts funky labels and quirky grapes, along with the continued growth of prosecco, beer, premium spirits and food pairing.

This is a reflection of what the drinks merchant says is the ‘increasingly adventurous nature of the UK consumer’ – starting with the look of bottles. ‘Bright colours, eye-catching designs, and more playful names’ are some of the aspects said to attract customers’ attention. Assistant wine buyer Judith Nicholson suggested to use that as a way to make recommendations, as customers love a good story, she said.

Another thing that’s set to pique customers’ interest are ‘quirky’ grapes – the company observed customers have been more daring with their wine choices. Matthew Clark’s wine development specialist Rachel Love said: ‘We expect to see customers moving away from perennial favourites and delving into something a little different. New Zealand Pinot Gris is one to watch.’ Also mentioned were Grüner Veltliner, Verdejo, Aglianico and Carmenère.

Some other trends to watch in the wine category include magnums, which would see increased interest from customers in 2016, and prosecco. Matthew Clark expects the Italian sparkling to continue its growth into 2016, with more premium brands gaining a share of market.

However, following on from YouGov figures saying women are now drinking more beer than sparkling wine – even prosecco – Matthew Clark expects 2016 to be the year of beer.

Premium spirits, notably vodka and rum, are also expected to be hits in 2016, after increases in volume sales were observed year-on-year for the period of August to October 2015.

Finally, consumers’ interest in wine-matched menus is set to increase. Love said: ‘Food pairing is a trend that is continuing to grow; consumers enjoy learning about what works well with food and also see it as an opportunity to trade up on wines without breaking the bank. Our customers realise that this is the best opportunity to sell more premium wines at a healthy profit.’