Wine and the culture that accompanies it is an important part of our society that has only grown in popularity within the past decades. It is a subject that cultured people are expected to be able to converse about intelligently. So if you don’t know much about wine, consider this your cheat sheet. And even if you think you know everything that there is to know about wine, you might find out something interesting to share with your wine savvy friends.
In the past decades, wine making and the culture that surrounds wine has undergone some very important changes. One of the most notable of those changes was the rise in popularity of the winemaking consultant. Emile Peynaud was among the first of the wine consultants to suggest ideas that are now considered commonplace among wine makers, such as smaller crop harvests, later crop harvests, and new viticultural techniques. With these changes came much more meticulous wine making techniques such as more stringent triage (sorting of the grapes), temperature control during the fermenting process, more sanitary conditions, and in-bottle aging.
With the improvement in wine that these new techniques brought, wine became more and more popular, driving demand and prices up. As with any luxury good, this brought out the critics who would give honest criticism. With the invention of the internet, wine criticism is more available than ever before and is frequently read before purchasing a bottle. As wine became more fashionable, restaurants introduced wine tastings, expanded their wine lists, and trained servers to be more knowledgeable about wine in order to help customers with their selection.
In the past few years, two popular trends have been green/ organic farming and wines with cool names and moderate price tags. The move towards sustainability is not surprising as more and more consumers become concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. The trend of wines with cool names and moderate price tags has come mostly because of the increased popularity of drinking wine, so people want a wine that is modestly priced that can be consumed with a regular meal.
Predicting future trends is an inexact science, but there are a few things that many experts agree we will see over the next few years. Firstly, wine shops will make a comeback because customers want the experience of buying wine that is simply not available in a grocery store. The wines with cute or funny names will decrease in popularity and will be replaced by wines that are still inexpensive, but look more authentic. Environmentally friendly, simple winemaking will continue to be popular as customers look for clean, unoaked flavors. Finally, the popularity of the synthetic cork will continue to rise because it prevents the spoiling of wine.