Comment - Wine - Losh's Chris-tal Ball - Part II
After last week's look at what the first six months of 2013 has in store for the wine industry, Chris Losh considers the second half of the year. Prepare yourself for yet more insight and analysis from our resident wine bard.
The Wine & Spirit Association blames "unseasonally windy weather during springtime" for disappointing quarterly figures. The news isn’t all bad, however, with the body highlighting "an increase in wine sales among the over 90s compared to 30 years ago" as cause for optimism.
In his keynote address at a bloggers’ symposium on the Caribbean island of Bermuda, marketeer, consultant, blogger and blue-sky thinker Otto Mannempire claims that wine "needs a more sophisticated approach to humour. While it’s got the hang of farce very well, and satire is probably too much too soon, I think there could be real opportunities in the use of irony," he says.
The Italian Consorzio is hauled over the coals for running an advert with the strapline "Do you love someone enough to give them your last Barolo?"
There is uproar in the US when the Anonymous Bloggers Collective, continuing its stated mission to "Tell The Truth Even When it Isn’t", runs an article accusing the US wine industry of "institutional racism". "Latinos pick the grapes, white guys trouser the profits – it’s 1980s Johannesburg all over again!" screams ‘Sharpeville2013’. The National Association of American Wineries consults its lawyers.
A group of Italian wine families comes together to form the Associazione di Famiglie Molto Posho. Membership is based on having a 600-year-old title, at least two ongoing feuds with other prominent wine families and no less than six boars’ heads mounted on the wall of one's castle.
At a Winemakers for Peace conference in Adelaide, three delegates are hospitalised when a debate over Pinot Noir clones gets out of hand. "A good start guys," says Otto Mannempire on his website. "Now let’s build on this."
Cashing in on the Gangnam craze, a team of Kiwi winemakers doing ‘Cork Taint style’ is posted online.
There is a shock at the Louis Roederer Wine Writer of Year Awards, when Tim Atkin doesn’t win anything. "He’s won Best Newcomer, Best Blogger, Best Columnist, Best Photographer, Best use of Bright Shirts in Wine Communication and Best Writing by Someone Called Tim over the last few years," says a spokesman. "We just couldn’t come up with any new categories for him."
The Scottish Government’s attempt to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol is ruled "anti-competitive, unconstitutional and illegal" by a neutral group of judges from France, Spain, Italy and Poland.
The entire Napa Valley crop of principal climate change denier Harry R Jumpjet is ruined by five weeks of temperatures over 35 degrees. Otto Mannempire says the industry is "really getting the hang of this irony lark".
The Gullible Travails company in New York claims to have invented a device that can ascertain the value of a wine by shining a light through the liquid. Thousands of units are sold before Sho Mee Thamonee, head of fine wine at Christies in Hong Kong, unmasks it as a fake. "It couldn’t tell the difference between Mouton and Mondavi ," he says. "It was no better than a French wine journalist."
The Wine Spectator decides to change the way in which its wines are scored. "Since American democracy is the best in the world, we’re moving to a system more like that used to elect our president," says editor P N O’Tage.
The Wine & Spirit Association blames an "unusually warm summer" for disappointing quarterly figures. The news isn’t all bad, though, with the body highlighting ‘a 10% increase in sales of wines beginning with the letter V – particularly Vermentino - as cause for optimism. This figure is later scaled back to 8% when it is pointed out that Furmint begins with an F.
Rumblings of discontent spread within the trade, when three weeks of frenzied judging at the Wine Spectator sees Moet Brut Imperial NV crowned ‘Top Champagne’. "We just couldn’t compete with their prime-time ads claiming our use of riddlers was un-American," admits Paul Rogers of Pol Roger.
The Anonymous Bloggers Collective creates a furore in Spain, when it asserts that the country’s winemakers "wee in their tanks’" "We’ll be consulting our lawyers, that’s for sure," says spokesman Juan For de Money. "Most of our members haven’t done that for years."
Cashing in on the Gangnam craze of just 12 months before, a group of Italian wine producers doing ‘Chianti Denominazione di Origine Calificada e Garantita style’ is posted online.
After testing by experts, 80% of all Bordeaux’s cru-classé chateaux are found to be infected with 'Tweed Taint'. The CIVB admits the situation is far more widespread than it had anticipated and acts decisively, setting up a ten-man working party to come up with a reason why tweed taint is a) traditional, b) desirable and c) impossible to replicate in the New World.
Following the discovery of 50,000 cases of 'Chateau Lafite’ in a warehouse in China, a government spokesman denies that the country has a major problem with counterfeiting. "It’s not a problem at all," says How Zing Boom. "On the contrary, we’re very good at it."
At a seminar on the benefits of natural closures, CEO of Amorim, Jaime Not-Real, has to cancel his keynote speech following a severe allergic reaction to a TCA-infected podium. "Oh boy, that was good," says Otto Mannempire. "You guys are cookin’ with gas on the whole irony thing!"
Government health policies the world over are thrown into disarray when a medical study from the University of Kajagoogoo claims "conclusively" that binge drinking can cure cancer. Health ministers in the UK deny that their new campaign, urging people to "binge drink responsibly", sends out mixed messages.
The Anonymous Bloggers Collective is closed down when its assertion that Robert Parker "has had a sex change and is living with a linebacker in Ohio" sees it hit with a US$10m lawsuit.
The next big niched wine style sweeps the US restaurant scene. "Orange wines, organic wines, natural wines… they’re just all so mainstream," says Haden Seek, head sommelier at the world-famous Chinese Laundry eatery. "Everyone drinks this stuff all the time." Seek replaces all his natural wines with a little-known style, made by marinating the wine with the vigneron’s socks for up to a month. "These Vins de Chaussettes barely taste like wine at all," says Seek. "They’re really funky and unpleasant. So authentic."
The Wine Spectator abandons its new tasting system after a row about ‘hanging chads’ sees a bottle of Blossom Hill win ‘Wine of the Year’.
Following the success of their online Gangnam hit, the Italian Wine Producers launch a seasonal single, ‘I’m Dreaming of an Appellation that’s Rediscovered its Credibility Following a Re-Focusing on Sangiovese Christmas’. It beats X Factor to the number one slot.
At a visit to an organic winery, marketer, guru, blogger and blue-sky thinker, Otto Mannempire perishes when he falls into a tank of bovine-produced fertiliser. As he drowns in the ordure, his final words are "Oh, the irony."
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