Last year we wound down the year by delving deep into the pages of wine history, so we figured this year would be fun to speculate on the future…
Where evidence is still being found in the ongoing history of wine, and much is still speculative – some grapes are still undergoing DNA studies to find their lineage and place of origin, and some of the earliest chapters of known wine history keep rewriting themselves with each new uncovered ancient cave or structure.
So we felt it isn’t too far a limb to go out on speculating the future of wine based on modern patterns, so here then are our predictions and questions for the future of wine:
First, the return of Merlot. It has been almost 15 long years that this grape has been ousted from the consumers mind, but we predict the resurgence of the Merlot market, albeit not at the level it was when it all collapsed. We have seen it firsthand, Lot 641 has done right by the variety and done right by the consumers, and all the other Merlot we’ve tasted in the market, has been pretty damn good.
Secondly, will Rosé continue its market hold? Rosé has surprisingly dominated the American wine market a few years over now, continuing growth, honestly beyond, the supply from the major global producers. Could this possibly be the year the Rosé scales tip? Based on local consumption, no, but still good to speculate on the inevitable.
The Fall of Napa? Yeah, you read that right. With land costs at an all time high, scandal around some winemakers, false numbers reported to shift investments being reported, year over year over production for a historically “allocated” wine region, other regions capturing high scores, a potential financial collapse driving purchasing back to Sonoma, Washington, Argentina, and other regions, planned price hikes for wineries, the list really goes on and on. It doesn’t look good that you’ll be willing to pay $100+ for juice from the region on the horizon, and with the new kids on the block in the region buying in at a premium, be sure that will pass onto the bottle price, even if the wine is mediocre at best. Let’s be honest here, we’ve been selling you $125+ tasting room bottles under our label for ~$30+ for years now, and our lights are still on. At some point in the future, Napa will break from underneath itself, it really is only a matter of time.
Cabernet in Burgundy? Syrah in Bordeaux? Top scoring Pinot Noir from Canada? All very possible. No matter how you look at it (we’re speaking to you guys and gals that like to “deny things”), the Earth is warming. Not going to split hairs on who, what, when, where, how, or why, but the climate is changing (not the weather – look it up). What does that mean for the wine industry? Well, as the equatorial belt expands and shifts warmer air more northward and southward, the poles increase melting, ocean levels rise, and microclimates/wind patterns change. Grapes are super inhingent on local expression due to soil composition, microclimates, and water sources. You will see dynamic changes in what is planted where. Moderate Bordeaux becomes hotter? Time to move in the Rhône grapes. Cold Burgundy gets warm, move in the Cabs. You can pretty much kiss Champagne as we know it goodbye. And the areas too far north that now only produce stellar late harvest wines, well, they’ll be most likely picking up the Pinot and Chard family moving forward (for a while at least, till things hopefully settle back down a bit). Hard to believe, but we might see the first 100-point Pinot Noir from England or Canada in our lifetime. Kinda scary as well.
Lastly, the wine industry will become entirely dependent on entertainment and marketing. We see it everyday now, the seeds have been planted, just look around you. An entirely superior product is passed by for the bottle that connects to your digital device for about the same shelf price. The winery that is Mom & Pop loses to the conglomerate backed winery with the entertainment stage and bands. Since when did the music have ANYTHING to do with the wine (aside from studies of certain music assisting in the ageing process of certain wines – exactly where the world of wine and music should meet, and never cross lines). It is sad, but when wine becomes secondary or tertiary to the life of a winery, they are no longer a winery, and crap substitutes quality. It is happening today, as we speak, but the growth of it seems bleak when looking at the future of wine.
We are truly sorry to leave it on such a dark note, but seriously: think twice about what you buy and from where. If you want a show, go to a venue. If you want wine, go to a winery. And if you’re buying in the store, please know what you’re buying. Apps are for phones, wine is for drinking, and as many of you reading know, drinking and phone calls don’t usually mix well.
The future of wine is in our hands, and ours alone. Let’s try to do better by wine, it won’t do us wrong in the end.