21 August 2008
By Douglas Blyde
BRITAIN'S OLDEST wine merchant, Berry Brothers & Rudd, recently produced a report looking into the future. In fifty years time, they predicted, environmental changes, the drive towards a low calorie lifestyle, and the need to counteract spoiled bottles would make a significant impact for every drinker.
Heavy glass bottles would widely be replaced by 'Tetrapak cartons. These would be stoppered by an as yet undevised pristine alternative to cork. Fraught alcohol levels could be reduced by less sugary, genetically modified grapes.
Already a leviathon of local production, China would become the world's largest producer, with cooler vineyards rivaling sacrosanct Bordeaux and Burgundy in quality. Meanwhile demand for premier league, limited production old world wines would become ever more intense.
With Australia in drought, India and Eastern Europe producers would most likely glean investment and become serious alternatives for mainstream wines.
Officially 2007 was the second warmest year in the U.K. in over 350 years. Sussex and Kentish pasture populated by sheep or sewn with wheat would be replaced by strings of vines on the scale of Champagne.
Finally, a sommelier could carry an 'electronic bee'. The device, which replacates the honed honeybee's sense of smell could be used to detect cork-tainted bottles (should any cork-stoppered bottles, or for that matter sommeliers still exist).
Incidentally, Berry's Sales Director believes that if values of top end wines continue to increase at their present rate, a case of '05 Chteau Lafite-Rothschild, (currently 9,200) would give little change from 10 million, resold in 2058.
Taking influence from the report, I recently enjoyed the future-present: a generous flute of traditional method homegrown fizz. Moonshine NV comes from Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk and has tremendous bubbles. Within the mini tornado, notes of lemon drizzle cake, sherbet and even ice pop rose. It became more expressive as it warmed a little. For stockists: 01359 250262.
City Vineyard (top right): the recent 'City Vineyard' promotion for Australian wine - as the world warms, such a sight could raise few eyebrows
Chateau Latour (top left): in fifty years cases of first growth clarets could reach 10m
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