Parker on the future of wine

Friday, 17 September, 2004
Staff Reporter
Robert M. Parker offers 12 predictions on the future of wine in a recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine in the USA. Mr. Parkers says '...I am confident that they will come true sooner or later'. Sadly, South African wine does not feature on Parker's list.

1. The 'dramatic end' of the three-tiered system of wine distribution in the USA by 2015. Mr. Parker calls this 'an absurdly inefficient system that costs the consumer big bucks'.

2. The wine web will be a mainstream publication in 10 years. Parker predicts more open and democratic on-line publications will fulfill the role today's printed wine magazines do.

3. Bidding wars for the world's most exclusive wines will erupt and be fueled by an increased interest in fine wine in Asia, South America, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. 'No matter how high prices appear today for wines from the most hallowed vineyards, they represent only a fraction of what these wines will fetch in a decade.'

4. France will pay the price for its 'obsession with tradition and maintaining the status quo'. Parker predicts the demise of many French producers outside the top 5% who will fold under the pressures of an ever-more competitive global wine market.

5. Stelvin will become the closure of choice. Parker believes wines meant to be aged for 20-30 years will still be sealed with natural cork and dismisses synthetic cork as a viable alternative. Rather he urges the cork industry to solve the quality issues it's being faced with.

6. Spain's future is bright. 'It is emerging as a leader in wine quality and creativity, combining the finest characteristics of tradition with a modern and progressive winemaking philosophy,' Parker comments. He also predicts that relatively unknown areas such Toro, Jumilla and Priorat will be tomorrow's Rioja and Ribera del Duero.

7. By 2015 Argentinean Malbec will have become one of the noblest of noble varieties and will have reached 'startling heights of quality'.

8. California's Central Coast will become as hallowed a viticultural region as Napa and Sonoma.

9. A winemaking revolution is under way in Southern Italy. 'Once-backwater Italian viticultural areas such as Umbria, Campania, Basilicata and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia will become household names by 2015.'

10. Unoaked wine will become increasingly popular as a result of the increasing diversity of foods and flavours consumed.

11. Australia needs to put more soul into it. Mr. Parker reckons that in future lower priced wines will offer increasing value for money/quality. He warns: Australia 'will need to improve its game and create accessible wines with more character and interest to compete in the world market 10 years from now.'

12. More diversity, no saturation. Parker predicts quality future offerings from Romania, Russia, Mexico, China, Japan, Lebanon, Turkey and India. Saturation, according to Parker, will however not be reached due to a growing population of wine consumers across the globe.

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