Wealth

“Super cult” wineries, digitalisation and a new generation of fine wine consumers will reshape the wine industry in 2019, a leading analyst told CNBC on Wednesday.

Mathieu Jullien, general manager for Europe at Wine Source, said these trends would continue to disrupt the industry next year. A growing awareness of the world’s finest wines would also create a “significant number of ‘super cult’ wineries,” presenting opportunities for investors.

While wine producers had an increasingly global outlook, the sector was also experiencing a trend similar to the rise of microbreweries in beer production – particularly in the Champagne region.

“More and more of the new generation (of vineyard owners) have this idea to withdraw the grapes from big wine houses and focus on small production, raising their own profiles and putting specific villages on the map,” Jullien told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

This was contributing to a rise in “grower champagne” – a category of wines where the wine is produced by the same vineyard that grew the grapes. According to Jullien, the growth of this category presented “huge potential” for investors.

“We (also) anticipate the rise of a new generation of consumers,” he said, noting that fine wines were becoming more popular with young female consumers, tech entrepreneurs and in Asian markets.

“They demand more service and advice around their wine collection,” Jullien added. “The industry is moving from product consumption towards experience, education and service.”

According to Jullien, the rising awareness and demand for luxury wines would drive up their value.

Wine Source also predicts an overhaul in how fine wines are distributed to consumers, thanks to emerging technologies such as virtual reality.

“It’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future when everyone will be able to ‘visit’ any winery from their living room, over the internet, perhaps joining a masterclass about pruning or blending, or taking part in a tutored tasting,” Jullien said.

Wine Source is a global supplier of ultra-premium wines, where demand for specific wines typically outweighs supply.

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