If you brought out the bubbly, chilled with a glass of rose or sipped fairly regularly on local wines in 2010, you were drinking pretty fashionably. This year we saw the love affair with anything sparkling continue, from Champagne and Prosseco, to Cava and Sekt. We witnessed the rise of rosé, and saw local wines jump to the front of the line with a growing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. Argentina flexed its muscle this year with multiple containers of Fuzion hitting the shelves, also impacting the fantastic growth of its signature grape Malbec, while the affection for Pinot Grigio was reaffirmed with sales dramatically up across many regions. Sparkling Wines What’s the story behind the increased allure of the delectable mousse and tiny little bubbles of sparkling wines? No longer the exclusive domain of Champagne lovers with Champagne budgets, the consumer is embracing fizz from other regions more now than ever before. These wines are available in numerous styles and price points, and are being recognized and embraced for their versatility and their ability to pair well with most foods – all the while bringing a note of excitement or energy to the table or event. This is translating into a 10 per cent increase in sales in Ontario, as well as a significant increase in British Columbia. Rosé A new respect for rosés came on very strongly this year. Shari Mogk-Edwards, vice president, merchandising for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, tells us there was a 100 per cent increase in rosé sales over last year, with the category showing growth across the country. Gone are the days of rosés appealing exclusively to the sweet tooth, as with North America’s introduction to White Zinfandel, a rosé which typically registered over a 3 on the sugar scale. Everything is coming up rosés, with many of the wine growing regions around the world taking part – from our own backyards in Canada to the New World producers and of course the old, including the well established and relished rosés from Tavel, in southern France. Rosés are being vinified dry and reflecting the various terroirs of their respective regions. Able to do double duty, they can act as a fuller bodied white or a lighter red, vinified dry, as opposed to earlier style rosés. Local Another trend we saw this year was the rise in buying local, with sales of LCBO’s Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) increasing by 18 per cent, and BCVQA wines by 10 per cent. It’s important to note that BCVQA already experienced excellent growth due to the Olympics. Driven in part by the consumer’s commitment to reducing one’s footprint, this trend is also a result of greater consumer confidence in the price/quality ratio of the local wines being produced today – from value wines right on up to premium. Malbec If we had to single out one region and one grape that had the biggest presence this year, it would be Argentina and her signature grape Malbec. The Fuzion value wines first introduced many consumers to the country, as well as to the grape, resulting in a love affair with both. Sales of Malbec from other regions began to experience growth as well. Argentina benefited as a region, with sales of many of her other products, red and white, enjoying significant growth. Argentine Pinot Grigio for example was up 50 per cent in Ontario, and according to Stephen Schiedel in purchasing at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch it was up measurably there as well. Pinot Grigio is a grape that has legs, showing steady growth regardless of whether it’s from Italy, Ontario, B.C. or Argentina. Value There is one final trend that we would be remiss not to mention, and that is the consumer searching above all for great value. Whether it is Champagne, a sparkling wine, a pricy Malbec or an everyday vin de table, the wine drinker of 2010 is looking for a deal –a great find of a wine that delivers time after time. About The Wine Ladies The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne founded by entrepreneur sister team in 2003, take life one sip at a time as they share the splendour of food and wine for all and the wonderful lifestyle it entails. Regular national TV personalities, columnists and hosts of their own weekly TV and radio show about wine, food and lifestyle these ladies share their passion and live life to the fullest and without hesitation. Their motto “everything in life somehow comes back to the vine” keeps their audiences entertained and informed. Contact them at TheWineLadies.com or visit them on their The Wine Ladies Facebook Fan Page.