Extremely Serious Wine Predictions for 2013

It is customary now to don the oenomancer’s robes, look into crystal glass, sift through the skanky lees and prognosticate like you mean it. So here goes – a bevy (sic) of flailing guesses and vague predictions.
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*Remember summer? The vineyards don’t because they omitted to produce grapes in 2012. Ergo, prices will rise without trace and glass ceilings will be shattered…

…Yet supermarkets and big wine companies will run loss leaders to garner greater market share. Aldi ÂŁ6.99 champagne anyone? It could happen.

*More big wine companies will go under, more medium-sized companies will be absorbed in the continuing Great Rationalisation of the Wine Trade, whilst conversely, more small independents and micro wine importers will emerge onto the scene.

*The tasting calendar will become so crowded that it will eventually deter people from going to any of them. (This is called Buridan’s ass syndrome)

*A colourful array of wine journalists will throw wobblies about natural wine on blogs. So – no change there. The looking glass world logic will be as follows:

  • Denying that such a thing as natural wine exists
  • Although it doesn’t exist, criticising it as a philosophy
  • Criticising the authors of a philosophy that doesn’t exist of a movement that doesn’t exist.
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Clod est demonstrandum

*Despite this the public perception of natural wine will become more favourable as the number of wines available proliferates, quality continues to improve and information about them becomes more widespread.

*We will see the slow burgeoning of natural winemaking in the New World. Currently the whisper of a ripple of a shadow of a rumour, green shoots are appearing with the growth of natural wine scene in countries like Australia, excellent specialist importers, increasingly curious drinkers and equally interested winemakers and, finally, blogs, articles and books written by influential, credible writers and journalists.

*We will see more Bag in the Box (BIB) wine in bars and restaurants. The standard of wine in the boxes is improving, there is more variety and the savings are substantial.

*More restaurants than ever will ask wine merchants for cash for the privilege of selling wines to them at already highly discounted prices.

*Whatever the last/current Bordeaux vintage will be beyond compare. Apparently, 2012 was an excellent year for hype.

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*Celebrity endorsements of brands will continue to increase.

*There will be another major Cloudy Bay marketing initiative because we all desperately need one.

*Supermarkets and high street chains will continue with their pricing prestidigitation. Forget the BOGOFS, 3 for 2s, and all the other promotional malarkey, just present honest prices with honest margins – if you dare. (An editor writes)

*China this and China that in every trade magazine. The wine world loves an expanding market. Expect it to go nuts for Brazil next year.

*The Australian wine industry will divide, reattach and reinvent itself several times during 2013 because novelty really is as old as the world itself.

*In 2012 people have finally stopped being retro-snobby about Beaujolais. In 2013 the region will be recognised as a serious wine-producing area.

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*The wine blog will divide into three types as anticipated by Tolkien:
  • The blog of Elrond – a blog that is largely observational and cultured rather than contentious and invites reasoned responses
  • The blog of the orc – Smartarse self-promotion based on parasitic trolling
  • The blog of the hobbit – Frivolous but fun, written by hobbyists rather than professional wine blog warriors

*Newspaper wine columns will be effectively editorialised out of existence.

And my hope for the year? That people in the trade take themselves a little less seriously.

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