Wine Oracles Look Into Their Crystal Balls for 2018
Predicting the future of anything can be a fool’s game. Just ask the political pundits still smarting over the results of the last presidential election.
Of course, that doesn’t stop people from trying. Or people asking them. Or people believing them. So we paged through the predictions of a raft of assorted wine sages, oracles and soothsayers to discover what developments 2018 will bring to the world of wine. In 12 months we’ll know if this was a fool’s game too.
One prediction that seems to crop up every year is that we’ll be drinking better (is somewhat pricier) wine, especially in the $10 and up category. We’ll be drinking more interesting wine too, many experts say. Growers and winemakers will ramp up their exploration of lesser-known varietals from not the usual suspect wine regions. Think reds and whites from Eastern European countries like Croatia and Hungary, as well as value Bordeaux and sparkling wines not from France’s Champagne region.
Rosé is predicted to continue its march to greater popularity, with more and better-quality pinks coming to the market. Look for red blends to increase their market share, and for Carmenere, the lusty red wine of Chile, to show up more often on restaurant wine lists.
Whatever the varietal, oracles predict we’ll be drinking more organic, biodynamic wines, also wines with more balanced, less aggressive flavor profiles. Wine in a box? Or in a can? Well, yes. Those too. Expect better-quality wines in those convenient, if unconventional, packages, helping to shed those wines’ reputation as cheap swill for the dull of palate.
On-line ordering should be bigger than ever too. Even though Amazon Wine shut down at the end of 2017, no one expects the Internet retailing behemoth to abandon its efforts to disrupt the wine sales market, especially given its recent purchase of Whole Foods. The oracles haven’t figured out just what that disruption will be but think two words: free shipping.