2011’s Hottest New Wine Bar Is at Your Grocery Store

It may sound hard to believe, but wine drinking as you know it may be turned on its ear in 2011.

The first change? Your favorite neighborhood wine joint may be the same place you buy soup and toilet paper. According to Napa Technology, wine lounges inside of mass market retailers are the new place to be. Retailers like Whole Foods, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, and Kroger have already found success in the trend. Many are taking it a step further and offering free entertainment, appetizers, and local musicians to create the ambiance of a real wine bar, complete with bar stools and stemware.

In addition to a change of venue, you may start to see wine served in an entirely new way in 2011, as traditional wine bottles become an antiquated form of packaging. Napa Technology says the new trend in wine is tiny (think, mini-bar size) bottles.

This new format allows consumers to dabble in pricier wines that they would otherwise not be able to afford in a full, traditional-sized bottle. Likewise, you might soon notice a more impressive “by the glass” list in your favorite eatery. Restaurants currently credit wine by the glass as accounting for 50 percent of total wine sales. Expect that trend to continue upward.

Don’t be surprised to see wine taps increase in popularity as well. The new pouring system is a win-win, reducing wine prices for restaurants on the purchasing end, and allowing them to pass savings on to customers. The taps work on a preservation system, which allows the wine on tap to remain free from oxidation, just as it does in the bottle. So from a tasting perspective, consumers should be none the wiser.

Ever wanted to sample a wine before buying but fear coming across as a cheapskate or wine snob? Napa Technology assures the stigma of sampling is gone. Its clients are warming on the idea of sampling, as venues who offer sample pours are seeing sales increase by as much as 30 percent as a result.