A survey of 115 international wine trade professionals, commissioned by ProWein, an international trade fair of wines and spirits, points to five major developments in the next 20 years:

1 Consumers, not producers, will rule the wine industry in 2034.

The global wine industry will need to be more responsive to consumer needs. The industry will need to switch from top-down consumer education to engage emotionally with consumers.

2 Distribution will polarize.

Online sales are expected to become more important and supermarkets will become even more powerful. Specialist wine stores will need to focus on stories and messages that resonate with consumers. More producers are expected to bypass the middlemen and invest in direct-to-consumer sales and marketing.

3 North America and China will be top growth areas.

Respondents believe that North America, a huge wine market already, has enormous scope for more growth. In China, the wine industry sees potential for an eastward shift in both production and consumption of wine.
India and Latin America are also regarded as growth areas, followed by eastern Europe, although there are concerns about import barriers in some countries.
Respondents expect sparkling wine to become more popular globally, while rosé wine takes a back seat.

4 Packaging will play a bigger role.

More convenient types of packaging will be needed for new consumers in emerging markets around the world. Packaging design will play an important role in attracting new customers, some respondents say. The industry will also need to explore personalized packaging and environmental sustainability.

5 Other drinks will threaten.

Wine is facing increasing competition in mature markets from craft beer, cider products, cocktails, and innovative spirits, and there’s an impression that many of these products can outmaneuver wines in terms of their packaging and marketing budgets.

ProWein commissioned the U.K.-based market research institute Wine Intelligence to do the survey to coincide with its 20th annual fair, which will be held March 23-25 in Dusseldorf, Germany. A summary of the findings, “The International Wine Industry: Global Experts’ Vision 2024,” will be available in March and can be ordered online at www.prowein.com.

The fair is expected to attract 4,800 exhibitors from 50 countries and about 45,000 visitors. For information about ProWein, contact Messe Dusseldorf North America in Chicago, Illinois, phone (312) 781-5188, e-mail info@mdna.com or check the Web site www.mdna.com.