This year is going to be a very exciting year for wine lovers, but what should we be looking out for? In her first article for BFW in 2024, Sophia Longhi picks her five top trends to look out for in the world of wine.

Sparkles, sparkles and more sparkles! 

Sparkling wine isn’t just for celebrating with anymore. We like sparkling to mark the finish of our work day, to drink with our whole meal, for a weekend brunch… you name it, sparkling is ideal for it.

Of course, we still love Champagne and we are running out of reasons to open a bottle (ah, who needs a reason?!), but there are more and more price-friendly and “something a bit different” sparkling options for us to try.

You’ve got good old Cava (go up from the bottom shelf and find the artisanal stuff), English Sparking (AND now English Charmat, which is even more affordable as it’s made in the tank method rather than in the labour intensive traditional method), Prosecco Superiore DOCG (yes, it’s more expensive than your average Prosecco DOC, but this is small-production next-level stuff) and Pet Nat.

Pet Nat, short for Pétillant Naturel, is a fun and quirky kind of sparkling that comes in various shades of cloudy, from yellowy-orangey to bubblegum pink. Taste-wise, it probably has more in common with cider, but it’s fizzy, tangy, refreshing and usually has a great label.

Alternative Formats: From wine in cans and boxes to PET and kegs

Wine used to come in amphora urns and porcelain jugs before it came in glass, so why aren’t we more open to wine being packaged in other materials, which protect the quality of the wine inside and are better for the environment?

Great quality wine not designed to be aged (that’s more than 95% of wines made today) is now coming in cans, boxes, PET bottles and kegs instead of heavy glass bottles, drastically reducing the wine industry’s carbon emissions and liquid wine waste.

Go experiment and try some of these fantastic forward-thinking wine brands using alternative formats! You WILL be pleasantly surprised.

Old vine wines 

Asking the vintage of a wine is so last year – it’s all about asking about the age of the vines.

Old vines produce fewer grapes, but the grapes they do produce are very concentrated and possess a magic kind of mineral acidity. The wines that come from them are interesting, complex and come with a story – and who doesn’t like a story?

If a producer has cultivated old vines, it’s admirable because they require lots of love, care and cash – it would have been far easier to rip them up and plant something new. But, there’s something special and alluring about old vine wines, and when you get into them, you really get into them.

Find a wine from a vine that was planted in your birth year and bask in the nostalgia.

Glou glou!

It started with a new generation rediscovering Beaujolais Nouveau and realising how delicious it can be, and now we’re finding all kinds of light, smashable red wines made from grapes like Cinsault, Grenache and Zweigelt.

Glou glou is what it sounds like – wine that goes down your neck easily. We don’t always want heavy, oaky, savoury reds that need a slab of steak just to soften the tannins. Nowadays, we like to have the option of drinking red wines at parties with different kinds of food, like sushi, pizza, tofu, or no food at all – and for that, we need light, fresh, fruitbombs!

Sweet wines

It’s time to seriously get into sweet wines. This might mean fortified – and by that, I’m talking about sherry, port, madeira and vermouth – but I’m also talking about botrytis wines, like sweet tokaji and sauternes.

There’s been something missing in your life and sweet wine is it. Not only does it add another stage of pleasure to your epic multi-course feasts, but they can be the base of your new welcome cocktail or 5pm livener, topped with tonic and a slice.

For all the work that goes into making these wines, they are ridiculously good value and they open a door to a whole new world of wine culture. Trust me, you won’t look back. 

What are you looking forward to in 2024?