Futurama

Wine lovers in the UK are probably familiar with the name John Armit. He’s one of the top wine merchants in the UK and one of the first merchants to buy directly from the producers. The Armit Wines portfolio started with mostly Italian and French wines, but now includes wines from Spain, Chile, Argentina, California, Australia and New Zealand.

The reason we thought we’d mention this is that Armit Wines is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Not very long in wine history perhaps but noteworthy nonetheless. As part of the celebration, Armit Wines decided to hire food futurologist (yes, that’s actually her title) Dr. Morgaine Gaye to make some predictions about where the wine world is heading.

Despite the title, Dr. Gaye’s predictions don’t involve crystal balls or mysterious portals. It does involve evaluating trends, including scientific advancements, cultural shifts, economic factors and a whole host of other data to develop some notion of where we’re heading. Predictive models can be critical in certain fields – in a perfect world, understanding how big a city’s population will likely be in thirty years and where that population will be located will help determine infrastructure plans and construction for the future.

Dr. Gaye’s speciality just happens to involve food. Could there be anything more fun than trying to predict food trends – except maybe wine trends? We know we would have been doing our happy dance if someone appeared at our office (if we had one) and asked us to predict the future of wine.

So what did Dr. Gaye predict for the venerated world of wine-making?

In the wine-adjacent category, Dr. Gaye foresees instant deliveries via drone. (Amazon’s drones are already in limited use in some areas.) Look for bars and restaurants to take advantage of drone services to ensure a well-stocked bar. Those with a few extra dollars to spare will also be able to have their favorite bottles delivered to some pretty remote locations – a bottle of Dom while lounging on the beach at your favorite private island perhaps.

Dr. Gaye also expects that labels will be replaced with scanner codes. To see the rest of the label, just scan with your phone and up pops everything you need. This also opens up the floor (shelf?) to a variety of bottle shapes. Look for more personalized bottles to replace those cute labels. (Not sure what this means for the annual artist-designed labels for Mouton Rothschild….)

And that special wine glass you’ve been sipping from? Expect your glassware (and those bottles) to be replaced with a more eco-friendly option – compostable glasses. Embraoa, a Brazilian company, is already producing glassware from papaya. Not only is the glass green but it also enhances the tasting profile of the wine. Can you imagine saying yum about your favorite wineglass?

As for the wine itself, Gaye says to look for new wine-producing areas. With climate change forcing temperate zones further north, look for production to pick up in places like England, Washington, Oregon, and Canada. Curious about what wine from England tastes like? Current top producers are Digby Fine English, Chapel Down and Nyetimber, available at wine.com in the US.

Dr. Gaye also predicts that our definition of wine will be expanded. With growing world-wide interest in drinking wine coupled with a limited range of grape-friendly areas, expect local producers to fill the gap with popular local flavors. In Europe, look for fruits like plum and greengage to appear, as well as the return of traditional flavors like rose and violet. More exotic ingredients might include horned melons and African cucumbers.

Expect Asian taste inspirations to grow as well. With China’s influence as a wine consumer steadily growing, expect flavor profiles to become more floral or earthy, with even a bit more bitterness as well. Also look for black pigmentation to appear – yes, sesame seeds and charcoal could soon be making an appearance in a bottle near you.

Whatever the future brings to the world of wine, the only thing that really matters is the one thing that has always mattered – finding a wine you love. No matter your preferences, there’s a wine out there that will fit you perfectly.

 

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