Another new year is thankfully around the corner. If wine sales say anything about the year that was, then 2020 was a time to pour a drink. Total wine sales since March 7 are up compared to 2019, but the corks are popping off certain types of bottles at a much higher rate than others.
Americans are buying nearly 25% more wine in 2020, according to the marketing research company Nielsen. At the same time, wines with ABV levels of less than 13.5% are becoming increasingly popular, according to Wine Enthusiast magazine. (Related: Here are 13 Wine and Cheese Pairings You Have to Try.)
While a growing number of wine makers are pivoting to these less-rich blends as demand increases, there are other reasons that help explain this phenomenon. Wines with lower ABV levels are typically lighter in body and less rich, such as a Pino Grigio versus a Cabernet Sauvignon. Experts say low ABV wines are more "food-friendly," meaning they pair with a versatile array of dishes, including spicy foods.
Health-conscious millennials are also continuing to buy lower ABV wines. A representative for the winemaster for Kendall-Jackson wines told Business Insider last year that millennials "seek options with lower alcohol content, lower amounts of residual sugar, and minimal carbohydrates." The Silicon Valley Bank's State of the Wine Industry Report 2020 called out the impact of "negative health messaging" about alcohol.
Indeed, wines with an ABV of 13% or less typically have fewer sugars and carbs. That means what could have been a dense glass with dinner a healthier option, too. And who can resist better-for-you wine? For more on ways to enjoy wine without the pains that come with it, here are 5 hacks to avoid wine headaches.