"God is an American"
- I'm Afraid of Americans, David Bowie
The big news at the Wine Advocate press conference was the announcement of Neal Martin taking over Bordeaux En Primeur from Robert Parker.
But we also got a key trends retrospective of his 37 years in the business from the man who invented the Parker Points system.
To summarise it all in a single sentence, the globalisation of interest in wine has led to improvements in quality, expansion of production and ever higher prices at the top end, with all that that brings.
#1 quality: quality and reliability have improved across the board, including at the very top, due to the globalised marketplace and increased competition. The industrial approach of old has been replaced by an increased interest in organic and biodynamic practices.
#2 investment: related to #1, wineries have invested to focus on quality and make their wines a true representation of the Terroir, soil and region.
#3 New regions and diversity of styles: the emergence of Spain, Portugal, southern France, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America.
#3 wine investment: the top classics are no longer affordable and this is not going away.
#4 wine as a profession: the rise of sommeliers and wine writers is a good thing
#5 social media: more wineries are on Twitter and reaching out to people, it is less elitist but people are still intimidated despite everything
#6 shipping and handling; these have improved, especially in the US with better temperature control in hotter areas
#7 fraud: the "ugliest side" of increased interest in wine, don't buy older vintages as you simply can't prove provenance.
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