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Forward Thinking: Fruit of the Vine

By: Amy Marks-McGee
Posted: May 13, 2010

First printed in Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, June 2010.

Grapes are known for their antioxidant properties and health benefits. There has been an increased interest in grapes, particularly those used in wine. Manufacturers are launching an array of alternative and innovative consumer products and services using wine in a variety of foods and beverages, as well as in beauty products.

Wine with a Conscience

Like all industries, the green movement has influenced the wine industry, evidenced by wines that are biodynamic, organic, sustainable, and marketed to support a cause. Biodynamic wines, such as Bonny Doon (California) and Marc Kreydenweiss (Alsace, France), are gaining popularity in both the United States and Europe. Wineberry is an eco-friendly wine packaged in a “wood box made from sustainable forests in Bordeaux” and contains four wine bottles that last up to six weeks. For a restaurant experience, The Tangled Vine Wine Bar & Kitchen in New York offers a 160-bottle list that classifies each selection as biodynamic, organic, or sustainable. Consumers who want to support a cause can purchase wine from CellarThief, an online retailer that “donates 100 days’ worth of clean water for every bottle of wine it sells.”

Socialite

Social media too plays a key factor in the marketing of wine. Restaurants, wine bars and wine stores offer a multitude of educational and social wine-tasting events. Web sites such as Wine McGee list nationwide events by city, and social media sites such as LinkedIn have a selection of professional wine groups. Vino Volo is an interesting retail concept—located at airports and specifically designed for travelers, combining “a boutique retail store with a stylish tasting lounge and bar.” To educate consumers and simplify wine, 94Wines.com uses a unique color and numbering system to identify different varieties. Consumers fill out a six question WineID test to determine their tastes, which is then added to their online profile for future use. Additionally, they offer a high tech feature that allows individuals to personalize their wine bottle with text, photo or video using a QR code read by a mobile phone camera.

Calling All Foodies

Shifting from drinking to dining, wine is appearing in unexpected food categories. Academie Culinary Wines offers four cooking blends to complement different food groups such as “Blend #2 for seafood, poultry, and pork.”