Top summer drinking trends for 2017


Temperatures have been in the high-80’s all week in NYC so summer drinking season is just around the corner.

Here are some trends to enjoy:

Cynar Spritz

  • Edging out the Aperol Spritz this summer.
  • There’s also the Cynar Fizz (lemon, sugar and soda).

Amaro Is Booming

  • Amaro is increasingly popular, showing up on menus around the country from New York to Chicago, Milwaukee and San Francisco.
  • Bartenders in the Bay Area get a lot of the credit for popularizing amaro – from Palo Alto’s new Vina Enoteca restaurant which carries dozens of amari to San Fran’s Quince Restaurant which has an amaro cart roaming the dining room
  • Tony Hsieh of Zappos loves Fernet and has introduced it to his tech startup circle where every social occasion is a “Fernet moment.”
  • Bay Area spirits makers are also starting to distill amaro with a California twist. Link here.


Read on below for more summer drinking trends including the Prosecco and Rosé face off. The former doing an amazing job branding the category, the latter doing a phenomenal job in creating innovative products with outstanding packaging.

Prosecco As A Category is Killing It! (Source: Vinexpo, IWSR)

  • The Prosecco people have managed to create a brand that has not only expanded consumption occasions but also repositioned the category as an affordable, everyday luxury vs. a discounted champagne. (The other major sparkler, Cava, is lagging behind, perceived to be neither luxurious nor glamorous.)
  • Prosecco and rosé are both competing for the “aperitif moment” with Prosecco winning, especially among younger drinkers. Worth noting: pale French rosé sales are soaring and there is an astounding amount of activity and growth in the rose category even as Prosecco dominates.


  • Now that Prosecco is supremely popular, trendsetters are looking for something more obscure.
  • And that something may be franciacorta, one of Italy’s better kept sparkling secrets, made according to the méthode champenois in the hills of Lombardy.
  • The grapes are usually a combination of pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay and the wine receives its second fermentation inside the bottle, as with champagne (the bubbles in prosecco are injected).
  • Here’s a link to some of the best to try.


Rose sales in the UK rise nearly 60%

  • Sainsbury boosted its rose line up by 15%, adding eight wines including its first rosé magnum, the Baron Gassier Côtes de Provence magnum (RRP: £20).
  • Sainsbury’s data shows a change in consumer preferences, with paler styles from Bordeaux and Provence driving a 24% growth in French rosé last year.
  • Last summer, sales of rosé wine in the UK doubled, in part due to the rise of the frozen rosé cocktail ‘frosé’ and the brosé phenomenon of rosé-loving men.


The Wilder Side of Rosé: Pink Wine with Muscle

  • Expect to see richer rosés from unfamiliar and unexpected grapes and lesser-known regions.
  • These antidotes to pale-tinged rosés are ideal for barbecue or grilled steaks.
  • The rosé world is vast. Sales of Provençal rosés grew 55% last summer, and show no sign of slowing down.
  • However, people—and restaurants—are developing a thirst for darker hued rosés that can anchor a meal.
  • Italy has a long tradition of rosato wines such as the cerasuolos of Abruzzo. As does Spain. Contino is releasing a very hard-to-find $40 rosé that almost feels like a light red.
  • Next up: rosés designed to be poured over ice.
  • Last summer welcomed a rosé bubbly-and-ice boom with Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial Rosé and Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé.
  • This summer, still versions: Mouton Cadet will debut a coral-pink Ice Rosé, whose flavors are designed to survive ice cubes.
  • Link here to eight examples of the best and wildest roses.


Forty Ounce Wines: Can’t Wait to Bring This to a Party!

  • This rosé is going for $16 a bottle.
  • It’s currently available in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Colorado.


Tokaji Furmint Grapes: Hungary’s answer to Austria’s Grüner Veltliner is appearing on many fashionable wine lists

  • This has been incredibly confusing because the Tokaji that I am familiar with is one of the great dessert wines in the world (like a sauterne or an auslese).
  • So when I see Tokaji’s showing up on menus, I have been disappointed to get neither this amazing dessert wine nor the minerally, crisp Gruener.

Here is the story and the source of the confusion:

  • The Tokay grapes and wine made outside Hungary have no relationship to Hungarian Tokaji i.e. California Tokay, Italian Tocai Friulano, and Tokay d’Alsace are all in actuality, Pinot Gris.
  • Those in the know will be aware that it’s the main grape in Hungary’s famous dessert wine, tokaji, but increasingly producers are making dry versions.
  • Tokay or Tokji ? Both spellings are correct and refer to the same wine
  • To place these in your existing wine-drinking repertoire, unoaked furmints are generally less spicy than a grüner and have something of the same appeal as a good soave or Chablis.
  • Most are made in the Tokaji region by existing tokaji producers.
  • Hungary is not the only country that produces furmint: Slovenia and neighboring Austria also grow a little.


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