1. Weird Weather Worldwide\r\nClimate change continues to affect the wine world in a major, primarily negative way. This year saw hailstorms across France, drought in California, El Ni\u00f1o in South America\u2019s major wine regions and devastating late spring frosts in Austria, to name a few. While always unpredictable, wine farming this year was an unusually wild ride, with low yields, wacky weather patterns and unpredictable temperature fluctuations.\r\n2. Continued Expansion and Acquisition\r\nContinued expansion in America at the producer level, whether via real-estate acquisition (Jackson Family Wines in Oregon) or by brand acquisition (Constellation Brands buying Charles Smith Wines, Gallo buying Orin Swift, Ste. Michelle buying Patz & Hall) was a big story this year. Beer companies were in on the action too, with AB-InBev purchasing Virginia-based Devils Backbone Brewing Company and MillerCoors picking up a majority stake in Oregon\u2019s Hop Valley Brewing Co., not to mention AB-InBev\u2019s approved bid to acquire SABMiller.\r\n\r\n\r\n3. Sparkling Wine is Celebrated\r\nFrom Spanish Cava to Champagne to the ever-popular Prosecco and beyond, bubbles were consumed morning, noon and night at eateries and in homes nationwide this year. With diverse offerings from every major wine region in the world on shelves and offering price points to match most wallets, the sparkling stuff came closer to becoming an everyday wine for many Americans.\r\n4. G\u2019Day for Australia and New Zealand\r\nStill selling millions of cases of Yellow Tail, Australia nonetheless gained traction for higher-end wine this year, with exports of wine to the U.S. over $10 up 21 percent Overall exports to the U.S. increased 4 percent, with leader Treasury Wine Estates reporting growth in the strong double digits. New Zealand also showed impressive growth, with over 14 percent increase for 12 months through summer 2016. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc continues to set the pace.\r\n\r\n\r\n5. Millennials Find a Voice in the Somm\r\nThis year saw the rise of top somms and wine directors nationwide under age 40, reflecting the well-known rise of wine drinkers in the millennial set. Young experts were seen increasingly on the floor of the country\u2019s best restaurants, armed with a fresh perspective and a taste for wines from unconventional locales like Corsica, Greece, Georgia and Croatia, as well as a knowledge in new styles of wines (think sparkling red wines, natural wines).\r\n6. Ros\u00e9 Year-Round and From All Corners of the Globe\r\nNo longer relegated to summer picnics and sailing trips, the pink stuff was consumed at record volumes all year long in the U.S., with ros\u00e9 bottlings from virtually every wine-producing region in the world appearing on shelves and lists nationwide. Its popularity keeps growing, and numerous big-volume producers plan ros\u00e9 launches in 2017\u2014which means it will become ever more ubiquitous.\r\n7. A New Era of Restaurant Wine Lists/Pairings\r\nRestaurant wine lists nationwide got shorter and more specific in 2016, focusing on quality and diversity rather than massive scale. Plus, the days of rigid wine pairing menus and classic pairings seem to be behind us as sommelier/chef teams get creative about pairing wines to stimulate new responses rather than just finding copacetic pairs or playing to traditions past.\r\n8. Off-Beat California\r\n\r\n\r\nCalifornia made a big push beyond the heavy hitter varieties of Cabernet, Chardonnay and Zinfandel with compelling, small-production wines in the $20 to $30 range. Ribolla Gialla, Albari\u00f1o, Kerner, Tempranillo and Godello were just a few foreigners to make inroads. Also, new regions in the south of the state emerged, with a Los Olivos district approved, Sta. Rita Hills expanded and San Luis Obispo Coast proposed.\r\n9. Spain is Caliente\r\nA sommelier darling (and chef favorite), Spanish wine continued to gain steam in the glass this year, with Spanish value bottlings from regions like Cari\u00f1ena, Jumilla (as well as classics like Rioja and R\u00edas Baixas) on fire nationwide. Good quality, favorable prices and continued interest in Spanish cuisine made Americans tip a glass to Espa\u00f1a in 2016.\r\n10. Cross-Drinking A Way of Life\r\nBoundaries between beverages fell away further this year, with wine lovers also seeking out high-quality beer and spirits. In opposition to the segmentation of past years, the modern drinking mentality (fueled heavily by younger consumers) reflected a taste for like-minded product across the categories.