The State of the Wine Industry [INFOGRAPHIC]

Fine wine sales in the United States are forecasted to increase by 7-11% this year, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s Annual State of the Wine Industry Report, released on Tuesday.

Along with increased demand, the report’s author, Rob McMillan, projects increased grape and bulk juice prices, fewer private labels, more variation and acreage in plantings, a decline in wine quality for the price paid, and an increase in market share for imported wines.

The report also addresses the emergence of the “Fifth Column,” a group of “disparate, focused companies” that are challenging how wine is distributed, enabling it to be sold direct to consumers, cutting out the wholesaler. Some of those companies include the likes of ShipCompliant, TastingRoom.com, Lot18, VinTank and Naked Wines — believe me, that’s only the beginning.

The report was released in conjunction with a nifty infographic (pictured below) that sums up the institution’s findings.

To dig into the report, download it here, or check out this presentation on SlideShare, which is chock-full of graphs and numbers to get your head spinning.

What are your thoughts on the findings? Any you’d add to the mix based on personal observations?

Image by Erica Swallow

What Are ‘Green’ Wines? [INFOGRAPHIC]

As some of you may know, I’m into wine, even to the point of figuring out how I can start my own winery. And I’m continually inspired by winemakers stepping out into and shaping the world of natural winemaking. It just makes sense to let the fruit do the talking, ya know?

As far as my personal journey into winemaking goes, I completed my harvest apprenticeship at the City Winery in New York City in December. I learned about the basic stages of winemaking and launched a beautiful blog for the winery. The experience was priceless.

Since then, I sort of lost track of next steps. After all, I realized that starting a winery is time-consuming and expensive — the costs deadened me in my tracks.

But this week I’m picking back up where I left off. I ordered a number of books that will get me caught up on natural winemaking and even get me started towards making my first batch of wine this year:

Hopefully after reading up, I’ll be on my way to at least a few gallons of Swallow Winery wine — with or without a “winery” per se!

Along the way, I hope I internalize the history, criticisms and defining characteristics of “green” wines. For starters, and for those of you with not enough time to read five books on the topic, I ran across this infographic from Wine.com, which offers up some introductory thoughts on the space, defining natural, biodynamic, organic and sustainable wines. It’s a good start. Enjoy!