Wine glasses clinking to celebrate the various wines of the Sacramento wine industry.

Hot Honey Takes: 2024 Wine Industry Insights

Community| Events| Strategy| Trends
13 March 2024

Raise a glass y’all, we’re already three months into 2024 and primed to tackle the wine industry’s most exciting trends and challenges. Kicking off the year with the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, where Honey’s founder and CEO, Meghan Phillips, had the opportunity to serve on the planning committee and as a panelist, let’s dive into some of our favorite wine industry insights for 2024.

Experiences Reign Supreme

Remember friends, you’re selling more than just a beverage; you’re offering an escape, a celebration, a memory. Craft unique experiences that resonate with your audience, whether pairing wine with music festivals like Justin Dragoo and his team at BottleRock, hosting educational tastings, or collaborating with other local businesses. Content is your catalyst for sharing these experiences with a larger audience, so share your brand’s story, tease your followers with behind-the-scenes footage, and as Brittany Kelly from Fohr encouraged, capture visuals that create FOMO.

We’re ready to see brands think about wine-tasting experiences differently. We’ve heard for years that the industry is struggling to connect with new audiences; sharing your wine in a new way could be the answer. Show up places where wine isn’t always expected, ditch the stuffiness, and embrace creativity. We can’t stop talking about this at Honey currently, ideas are flowing.

Uncork Creativity with New AI Tools

While analyzing numbers is crucial, don’t underestimate the power of a well-strategized experience. Thinking out of the box, listening to your fans, and even adopting a new AI toolkit can spark innovation for your brand’s next event idea. Some tasks you can tap your favorite AI tool for might include image and copy generation during brainstorming sessions, finding new audience segments, boosting website accessibility, summarizing articles, and strategizing social media content. 

Remember that AI can only get you so far. Human touch, creativity, and a strategic mindset bring originality to marketing and take the sparks of ideas AI can give to the next level. Don’t forget to source your information carefully and use your AI tools ethically.

The New Frontier

Speaking of transparency, wine may be long overdue to leave the “guilt-free” narrative behind and pivot to honest, information-rich brand communication. Younger consumers especially are asking for the details more than ever, so give them the information they’re craving, even for the bevy of new health-conscious options like non-alcoholic/alcohol-removed and low-alcohol/sugar wines. Emily Saladino of Wine Enthusiast suggested the wine industry also explore selling ideas such as informed choice and mindful enjoyment over restrictive health claims. As strategists who know the power of transparency and customer choice, we think this could be the move in 2024 and beyond.

Meet Me at the Bar

They say moderation is key right? A little of this, a little of that. But as excited as some may be for the future, at our core we know the industry has an age-old tool in its arsenal that other competing brands simply do not have: tasting rooms. Leaning into those crafted experiences, smaller wineries should empower their staff to pass down knowledge, connect with wine club members and non-members on a personal level, and embrace the evolving preferences of their on-premise customers. 

Carrying that over to digital, it’s always recommended to live where your audience lives, whether TikTok, Instagram, or gasp, Snapchat. Partner with other brands, retailers, and communities that are doing the same. Entertain them with user-generated content (UGC), and stay the course by prioritizing educational storytelling. Quality will always prevail over quantity. 

Last Call 

While these trends paint an exciting future, the industry does face some uphill battles. A surplus of wine exists alongside lower consumer demand, emphasizing the need for strategic action. Prioritize consumer needs, connect them with your company’s purpose, and leverage all of the available data to understand their purchasing habits. Collaboration is key – both within the industry for strength and beyond for new opportunities.

Is 2024, the year of the dragon, the year we unleash innovation, embrace creativity, and find the perfect balance between old and new? Only time will tell. But we’d love to hear from you! How are you thinking differently about your brand in 2024 and beyond? Reach out to us at [email protected] and share your thoughts.