You won’t be able to say I didn’t warn you. 2014 looks to be another strange year in the wine business. If you don’t believe my predictions, remember that I was the person who predicted 2013 with astonishing accuracy, right down to the creation of the Coravin, Parker selling The Wine Advocate (OK, so I misidentified the buyers as North Koreans instead of Singaporeans, and, no, three Jongs don’t make a right), and Bordeaux having a Vintage of the Century. OK, let’s just get this prediction out of the way first — 2014 will be the Vintage of the Century in Bordeaux! You heard it here first. Here are the rest of my much-anticipated predictions for wine, and the wine business, in 2014.
Ongoing DNA research into wine grape varieties will yield some fascinating facts. Furmint, it will be shown, is not a grape at all, but a treat placed on pillows at kennels. (Oddly, as it turns out, the same is true of Antonio Galloni.) The oldest grape variety known to science will turn out to be the one used for the wines at Michael Broadbent’s christening. There will be a small scandal when researchers discover that Pinot Meunier has a tiny measure of DNA from Dom Pérignon himself, making Pinot Meunier the first-known offspring of a major clusterfuck. Pinot Gris will be downgraded from wine grape to disinfectant.
Drones will begin to be widely used by wineries. The world will take notice when Jancis Robinson’s litter is hit by a Hellfire missile, killing all twelve of her co-authors who were bearing her. As if any of them could bear her otherwise.
Rupert Murdoch will purchase Decanter magazine, which will then feature photos in every issue of topless fermenters. Andrew Jefford will be arrested for hacking Robert Parker’s cellphone and using it to sext Natalie MacLean. This will endear him to Murdoch. At Murdoch’s insistence, Decanter will proclaim Australian wines the finest in the world, particularly, “FOX’s own Hill of Nancy Grace Shiraz.” Rebekah Brooks will be named Decanter’s editor-in-chief but will be forced to resign when it’s revealed she had an affair with Jay McInerney. The woman can’t resist a hack.
The natural wine movement, proven to be closely related to that other great movement, peristalsis, begins to die of its own stupidity, but is replaced by a newer, and even more fanatical, Supernatural wine movement. “Supernatural wines,” its supporters will say, “are a lot like natural wines, only they live forever, and your dog mysteriously won’t stop barking at them.” Supernatural wines are placed in amphorae, tightly sealed, lowered into the ground for several months, carefully monitored, and when the amphorae are opened, instead of wine, magically, there are white tigers inside.
Frustrated federal officials investigating wine forgery in the United States will declare an amnesty allowing forgers to reveal all the fake wines they’ve placed on the market without fear of prosecution. The major wine auction houses have more returns than Wimbledon, forcing many to near financial bankruptcy, equaling or excelling their moral bankruptcy. Canada asks, “Can we get that same fake wine deal?”
A study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine will show a powerful link between consuming six glasses of wine daily and penis enlargement. At least in the eyes of the women who drank all that wine.
Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon will begin to wane in popularity and be replaced by Syrah. I’ve made this prediction every fucking year since 1995.
Italy will decide to abandon its DOCG system altogether saying, “It’s like traffic laws—no one obeys them anyway, and it’s just easier to stop pretending.” The DOCG system is replaced with Obamacare.
A violent war between Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers breaks out with each side sustaining heavy losses. At the Vatican, Pope Francis, in a stunning turn of events, encourages the two sides to keep at it, saying, “I’m the only real pontificate — screw those guys, they’re just blowhards.” A confused Doug Frost, MS, MW. tries to kill himself. The MWs blindfold captured MSs and make them identify Swiss wines, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. A heroic MS declares, “Give me Chasselas, or give me death — but not in that order.”
Climate change has some drastic effects in various important wine regions. In Germany, Eiswein is no longer possible, and, as a substitute, producers turn to the next best thing, Schlurpeewein. Consumers hate that drinking it too fast gives you one of those nasty headaches right between your eyes. In France, the oak forests begin to die off from an invasive beetle, and French oak barriques become extremely scarce. French scientists scramble to create a faux-barrel made mostly from vegetable byproducts. Winemakers prefer the new barrels that are “lightly chard.” Cork oak forests in Portugal are threatened by drought conditions, and, ironically, specially trained dogs are brought in to wet them. The greenhouse effect makes Napa Valley so hot that winery owners are forced to keep their trophy wives indoors.
All the vineyards in Australia will be grafted over, and used solely for the production of Yellow Tail. The Australian government, in defending its position, remarks, “We expect the Chinese demand to be high.”