Comment - Wine - Losh's Chris-tal Ball
By Chris Losh | 19 January 2012
It's the week of forecasts on just-drinks this week. On Tuesday, Ian Buxton considered what 2012 will bring for the world of whisky. Today, Chris Losh looks at what the next 12 months will provide for all you wine producers out there. Note: Some of the following might not happen.
Controversy at the Burgundy en primeur tastings in London, when an influential London wine merchant is discovered to have been dead for a year. "He didn’t really do much when he was alive anyway, so we didn’t think it’d do any harm to keep wheeling him out for a bit," says a co-worker.
Following the money-raising success of Movember, Diageo makes headlines by kicking off the new year with Ginuary. "We want people to raise money by getting hammered on Gordons," says a spokesman. "But, in a responsible way, of course."
In Brussels the EU leaders toast the success of their latest EU bail-out summit with Clos de Mesnil.
Disillusioned with their inability to get meaningful magazine columns, a group of journalists form The People’s Wine Collective website. "Wine is stodgy and boring. The media is in the pay of the big companies. We’ll be keeping it real and putting power back where it belongs: in the hands of the wine-loving masses," says founder Reg Mince.
Following the controversial decision by its ‘tank of wise squid’ to sell off the office furniture last year, Accolade Wines decides to sack the cephalopods and appoint a ‘policy tsar’. ‘Lord High Priest Wolfsbane is a senior druid and trained haruspex, with an outstanding track record in predicting the future through reading entrails,’ reads the press release. "We are sure he’ll do a great job in the world of global drinks retailing," the company boasts.
In a move which, it claims, "underlines its commitment to European wine", Tesco buys the Muscadet AC. "We can see a sparkling line, ‘Finest’, ‘Good with shellfish’… all sorts of opportunities to leverage the brand," says Juan Sago, wine buyer. "Failing that, we can always tarmac the vineyards and use the land as a giant trolley park. That was a joke by the way…"
In preparation for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Sainsbury’s launches ‘Queen-o Noir’ red wine. Sales slow up when it turns out that her majesty "usually prefers white".
Accolade Wines changes its name to CosmicEarthForce. The rebranding costs US$500m.
In Bonn, the EU leaders toast the success of their latest EU summit with Pol Roger 2004.
Treasury Wine Estates announces the appointment of one of the ex-Constellation squid as its new CEO. "He has an outstanding track record and knows the industry well, considering he only drinks seawater," says the press release.
The Greek wine industry engages in an ambitious, multi-million Euro marketing campaign and controversially sends the bill to Berlin. "We thought we’d save time and cut out the middle-man," says Giorgio Runningataloss. "That way, there’s a chance we can siphon some off to buy a holiday home before we retire at the age of 48. Is that thing switched on?"
In preparation for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Tesco launches ‘Coronation Cru white Burgundy’. After a good start, sales become sluggish when her majesty is quoted as "having a soft spot for off-dry rosé".
Robert Parker’s integrity comes under fire when it is revealed that he once accepted a mint from a wine producer after a tasting. "It just goes to show that he’s completely crooked as well as rich," says a jealous journalist. "You can read all about it in my book, website, Facebook page and Twitter feed."
The ether hums as five journalists from the People’s Wine Collective engage in a furious twitter spat about free sulphide levels in screwcapped wines. "This is what the man in the street is talking about," says Reg Mince. "We’re blowing this whole conspiracy of silence right open."
CosmicEarthForce Wines shocks the wine world with its decision to sell all of its wines in yellow bottles with yellow labels. "It’s the colour of sun, of the eternal life-bringer, connecting our wines with the infinite," says Lord High Priest Wolfsbane. "The entrails were very clear on this."
In preparation for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Asda launches ‘Royal Rosé Blush’. Sales grind to a halt when it turns out that her majesty "only drinks English wine".
Following a "disappointing" take up for stands at the London International Wine Fair, producers rally to reaffirm their commitment to the market. "It doesn’t mean we’re no longer interested in the UK," says an Australian wine producer. "It’s still a very good place for dumping cheap dross that nobody else wants."
Treasury Wine Estates rebrands itself as ‘Uniqa’. The move costs $600m.
UK supermarkets stock up on English wine ready for the Diamond Jubilee celebratory weekend. Sales tumble when the public realise that the wines are largely undrinkable.
Disgraced ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi launches his own wine brand, Bunga Bunga. It’s backed up by a Euro-pop anthem penned by the smooth-skinned philanderer himself, ‘Boom Bunga Bung, Crazy Sexy Daddy’, and a TV game show.
To attract more Asian visitors, Vinexpo takes place for the first time in an ‘auspicious’ Feng-shui approved venue. The fair’s president defends his decision to hold the expo across three lanes of Bordeaux’s ring road: "If you want to do business these days you have to get your Qi right."
With flowering complete, the Bordelais name 2012 the best vintage of the century. "Who cares if the grapes are still tiny – they are nevertheless perfect," says Jocque Cousteau of Chateau Bateau. "God himself could not sink this vintage."
The Pig and Spatchcock chain of pubs is hauled over the coals by the Olympic Association for its ‘Drink Decathlon’ where contestants have to shoot ten cocktails in as short a time as possible. "There’s no way we can sanction such behaviour," says a spokesman. "Only MPs can get away with irresponsible drinking like this."
Controversy in Italy when a Puglian wine is found to contain 3% methyl alcohol. "This is outrageous and irresponsible," says a spokesman for the appellation. "The minimum level for this DO is 5%."
A Californian entrepreneur claims to have invented the world’s lightest wine bottle. Made out of Clingfilm, the ‘bag-o-vin’ receives mixed reviews from the public. "On the downside, the white wines look like a colostomy bag," says one. "But, at least you can wrap your sandwiches in it afterwards."
In Rome, the EU leaders toast their latest plan to rescue the Euro with non-vintage Mumm.
Bordeaux experiences the coldest July on record.
The head of a well-known Champagne house causes outrage when he refers to New World sparkling wines as "the urine-sodden emissions of convicts and retards". "He hasn’t quite got the hang of Twitter yet," explained a spokesman. "He thought it was an email to a fellow Champenois. They wouldn’t have found it offensive at all."
A piece about Natural Wines on the People’s Wine Collective sees two journalists and an importer engaged in furious debate. "Levels of funkiness in wine. To sulphur or not to sulphur. That’s what the ordinary consumers are talking about," says Reg Mince. "This stuff is dynamite!"
Wildlife pressure groups lambast retailers in the UK for tipping 1m litres of unsold English ‘Diamond Jubilee’ wine into the Channel. "The sea is a delicate ecosystem… fish just aren’t able to cope with such high levels of natural acidity," says a spokesman.
Bordeaux experiences its stormiest August on record.
Tesco launches a big campaign pairing Muscadet with Beef. "Muscadet has always been about seafood, but only saddoes and foodies get hung up on tradition in this day and age," says category manager Juan Sago.
Bunga Bunga becomes the biggest selling wine brand in Italy. ‘Boom Bunga Bung, Crazy Sexy Daddy’ celebrates its 12th week at number one.
In Madrid, the EU leaders celebrate the ‘definitive Euro rescue package’ with premium cava.
Following disappointing sales figures, Germany’s wine regions lodge a request to rename themselves ‘Eastern France’. "It works for Ryanair," says a DWI spokesman, "so what’s the problem? Besides, we are funding everybody so we can do what we like."
Bordeaux experiences its wettest September on record.
Port Shippers combat accusations of being out of touch, by renaming the crusted category. "No wonder nobody bought it with a name like that," says shipper Joao Nao Brao-Cao. "'Fetid Port' has a much better ring to it."
Controversy at CosmicEarthForce Wines, where the decision to sacrifice three virgins and a goat to ensure the success of the pre-Christmas promotional campaign is described as "irresponsible" by the Portman Group.
Early indications from Bordeaux are of an unripe, fruitless, rot-sodden vintage with gum-stripping tannins. "It sounds like 1931," says a letter to the editor of Decanter. "It was so thin and pale you could barely drink it. Marvellous."
A survey into workers’ rights in South Africa causes a storm when it "exclusively reveals" that not all workers have access to flat screen TVs and that as many as 85% have "never had a sauna". "Frankly, 20 years after the release of Nelson Mandela, this sort of thing should have been addressed by now," says a spokesman for the Australian Wine Industry.
Supermarkets across Europe begin to re-configure their wine offerings according to the so-called ‘Merkel Plan', under which, as of 2013, 50% of all wine facings must be German. "If you don’t like it you can always go somewhere else for your money. Ha ha ha ha ha," comments a spokesman.
The US Department of Agriculture bans imports of Bordeaux 2012 on the grounds that it’s not fit for human consumption.
Following the dismal failure of its ‘Meat with Muscadet’ campaign, Tesco sends the diggers into the appellation, with orders to "shoot protesters on sight".
Global outrage, as Youtube footage of US soldiers feeding 2012 claret to suspected terrorists goes viral.
Uniqa denies that its decision to rebrand Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay as ‘Lucky Gold Dragon 888’ means that it is turning its back on Western markets.
The People’s Wine Collective decides to "break down the barriers" by asking its subscribers to rate wines not with a 100-point scale, which it describes as ‘totally arbitrary wine fascism’, but using household furniture. The scale ranges from chest of drawers (bad) all the way up to French dresser (perfect). When all four journalists’ votes are counted, Chateau Lafite 1982 comes top with a score of ‘sideboard’. "It’s about demystifying wine by using ordinary language," says Reg Mince.
On 31st of the month, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and the four other remaining members of the EU herald the ‘rebirth of the Euro’ with chilled Lambrini.
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Comment - Wine - Losh's Chris-tal Ball