I Predict a Quiet Riot: Forecasting 2016

There is a saying that even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. Trends, by definition, are rootless and transient, yet wine commentators are often falling over themselves to identify the latest one. Hence Riesling may be the new Viognier which was the new Sauvignon which was the new Chardonnay.

Wine trends are 99% PRspiration and 1% winemaking inspiration. It is seemingly more important sometimes that a project succeeds because of blanket social media coverage than because it is inherently interesting. Which posits a Pirandello-esque world of many magazine editors in search of a headline rather than a story. What is more interesting in the real wine world is the interrelatedness of things such as the rhythms of the vineyard, the artisans themselves and the processes of winemaking, rather than this perennial second-guessing about what’s popular (out there), based on a couple of vox pops and some spurious surveys. The medium, however, has definitely become the message. One may even create trends by hijacking social media and effectively networking one’s opinions in such a way that they seem to be freshly-minted truths already acknowledged universally.

Despite all this, at the beginning of each year, I don the oenomancer’s spangly pointed hat, decant a colfondo Prosecco, examine the true lies of its wiggly wine sediment, sniff the prevailing wine wind, and pretend to prog-nose-ticate, despite the fact that the whirligig of wine will inevitably bring in the same-old, possibly even more so. The wine industry is constructed to perpetuate the status quo, by rehashing old trends and repackaging them as good news stories. However, in the interest of goosing the wine status quo, here are some of my less than x-ray speculations.

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