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Benchmark Hospitality International’s
Top Ten Beverage Trends for 2010


Chief Sommelier Mary Watson One of Few Woman Wine Experts in US

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, August 2010 ... Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading US-based hospitality management company, has just released its Top Ten Beverage Trends for 2010.  The beverage trends were released in response to requests following the distribution of the company’s popular annual dining trends this past June. 

“This is an exciting time for the beverage industry, with lots of positive changes occurring,” said Mary Watson-DeLauder, chief sommelier for Benchmark Hospitality International.  “Some of the changes are economically driven, some taste oriented, and still others created out of necessity in response to changing palates and a new generation of consumers.”

Trend #1
Un-oaked chardonnays are replacing the big oak wines of the past.  Current wines are easier to enjoy with or without food.  Several wineries have backed off on oak completely to focus more attention on the fruit characteristics of the chardonnay grape.

Trend #2
Sauvignon Blanc continues to gain popularity, with New Zealand leading the pack.  South Africa, Chile, California, and Virginia are producinggreat examples of this wine as well.  Sauvignon Blanc is perhaps the most terroir-influenced of all grapes, an important consideration in today’s locavore dining environment.

Trend #3
More obscure grape varieties like Torrontes, Bonarda, Carmenere, Albarino, Chenin Blanc are being embraced today.  These also tend to be less expensive alternatives, which is important to today’s consumers.

Trend #4
Champagne sales are down this year but sales of sparkling wines, such as Spanish Cava, Prosecco, French Cremant, are up.  New and innovative cocktails and punches are making great use of these less expensive sparkling wine versions. 

Trend #5
Sangria is making a comeback – often mixing in less expensive wines currently on the market.  A sangria bar is an increasingly popular change of pace from Bloody Mary bars for brunch and cocktail parties.  Cava Sangria, made with the sparkling Spanish Cava wine, for example, is refreshing and great fun to enjoy!

Trend #6
Retro with a twist … basic cocktails like martinis, mojitos, margaritas, sidecars, etc. are being revamped with fresh new ingredients such as herbs, spices, and unusual fruits and vegetables.  Select bars are making their own mixers - sweet & sour mix, ginger ale and tonics.  House-made simple syrups are being infused with herbs and spices.  Select bars are creating their own flavored vodkas, gins, rums using fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.

Trend #7
Novelty is au courant in cocktails today.  Bars are creating contemporary ways to serve traditional cocktails … including, for example, wine popsicles.

Trend #8
Craft beers are hot.  “Beer dinners” are growing in popularity, demonstrating the compatibility of beer with food.  Beer is also working its way into cocktails, such as with beer margaritas.

Trend #9
The Slow Food revolution now includes enjoying locally produced beverages.  All 50 states have at least one winery, and most produce herbs and spices for flavoring cocktails, vodkas and rums. 

Trend #10
The popularity of wine and wine-pairing classes is strong and gathering steam!  Pairings of wine & cheese, wine & herbs, wine & chocolate are exceptionally strong today.  Wine dinners are selling out coast to coast as the public yearns to learn more about complementing fine food with the perfect beverage – whether wine, beer or cocktails!

For more information on Benchmark Hospitality International's "Top Beverage Trends for 2010," or to speak with a Benchmark Hospitality culinary professional, contact Ken Ellens, Ken Ellens Communications, at 201-758-2864 or

Benchmark Hospitality's Top Five U.S. Dining Trends for 2010

About Mary Watson-DeLauder
Mary Watson-DeLauder is chief sommelier for Benchmark Hospitality International. She was previously the award-winning sommelier for Lansdowne Resort and its popular On the Potomac restaurant in Leesburg, Virginia, Benchmark Hospitality’s east coast flagship property.  She held this role for 16 years, garnering several awards along the way.   Throughout her tenure with Benchmark Hospitality, Ms. Watson has been instrumental in strengthening the company’s relationships with signature wineries in Virginia, nationally and internationally.  She developed an acclaimed curriculum of food & wine and Culinary University classes, which provide an in-depth look at a variety of American and International cuisine and wine.  Ms. Watson has also developed the wine programs for Benchmark Hospitality International’s newest properties, including Costa d’Esta Beach Resort and its signature restaurant, Oriente, in Vero Beach, Florida, and Naples Bay Resort and its restaurant, Olio, in Naples, Florida.

Mary Watson's expertise has been recognized nationally. She has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator award for the past 18 years, and has been featured nationally on NBC’s Today Show and in countless regional and national consumer and food & wine publications.  She is an active member of the Women Chef Restaurateurs, Knights of the Vine, Society of Wine Educators and the Virginia Viniferea Wine Growers Association.  Ms. Watson has received the Gold Cluster of Virginia Award and served as a judge for the Virginia Wine Growers Association Wine Competition, the American Wine Competition and the International Wine Competition.   She has served as sommelier for numerous events at the renowned James Beard House in New York City. 

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Hotels™.  The independent company, launched in 1980, is a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers.  Benchmark Hospitality is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations.  Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston.  The company’s northeast regional office is in New Jersey, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit


 Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmark Hospitality's Top Five U.S. Dining Trends for 2010 / June 2010
Benchmark Hospitality Adds Mary Watson-DeLauder As Chief Wine Officer for the Global Company / May 2009
Benchmark Hospitality International’s Top Five Dining Trends for 2009; Plus Five Cocktail Trends / December 2008

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