The beauty and the beast behind one of the most readily consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. A universal gift given to us by the earth that demands nothing of it’s consumer besides appreciation.
Why wine? What makes this timeless alcoholic drink so intriguing? Well, if you ask me, EVERYTHING about it makes it the most enthralling agricultural product that has ever been grown.
According to National Geographic, the first known winery was found in an Armenian Cave near the village of Arnei dating back about 6,100 years. Providing the first “complete archaeological picture of wine production” taken by the researchers at UCLA in 2007. Evidence dating back 7,000 years that links wine chemicals and archaeological proof have been discovered but not a winemaking facility.
The discovery includes what appears to be a grape press and fermentation vessel. Researchers found that the grapes were pressed by foot and the grape juice following pressing was drained into the vessel to undergo fermentation. Traces of ancient grape vines, skins and seeds were also found in the cave.
After testing the clay vessels, they were radiocarbon dated back to 4100 BC. These tests were positive for Malvidin, an anthocyanin pigment that is found in red wine color. This anthocyanin is determinate of the intensity of the red pigment of red wine as well as the potential for oxidation (browning of wine).
Patrick E. McGovern, ancient wine expert and bimolecular archaeologist at the University of Philadelphia Museum and author of Uncorking The Past: The Quest For Beer, Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverages describes the discovery of wine in ancient Georgia being the birthplace of present day Pinot Noir.
Grapes were domesticated thousands of years ago and the early years of its production remains a question researchers are still actively looking to answer. While centuries of human evolution have taken place, grape vines have maintained a steady place in society.
In an article written by The Week, analyzing data found by Impact Databank, the United States was the largest wine consuming nation in the year 2013. Wine has been continuously increasing in popularity and sales across the globe. But why?
The wine industry in the United States is changing and adapting to the new consumer. Natural wines, Pét Nat, Orange Wine, chilled Reds, etc. The exploration into the wine world is taking turns and igniting the long lost flame of many ancient winemaking practices to cater to the new wine drinker. Rare varietals are making waves across shelves and wine lists are becoming more creative. Tradition continues to be the infrastructure of the industry but new methods, organic and biodynamic practices and funky flavor profiles are sparking trends around the world.
In my OPINION, the most recent generation that has started working and earning money is becoming increasingly focused on the accessibility and affordability of “luxury goods.” There is a need for grandeur without the bank account to accompany it. Wine has and will continue growing in popularity because it has historically been exclusive to a certain demographic. But here comes an influx of producers, wine shops/bars and the ability to buy a fantastic bottle for cheap. The more diluted the industry, the more access there is for everyone to be welcome in it (producer and consumer side).
Don’t get me wrong. I think the desire for cheap wine is alive and thriving, but I think there will be a need to continue increasing the market share of ones wine knowledge, wine access and palette. There seems to be a patient manifestation within every wine drinker to expand their niche. The peaked interest will eventually send them into the world of fine wine. The industry has provided the affordable training wheels for a new consumer to be involved in the wine world and to continue exploring the industry as we know it now.
“Millennials are changing the wine industry” – Business Insider
While I may not know what the future holds, no crystal ball yet, I do think that the current generation will continue being the fuel for the fire. The industry needed a fresh perspective to show how strongly it could root into society.
According to Business Insider, Millennials consumed 42% of the wine consumed in the United States in 2015. 42%.
The future is looking bright for the wine industry and I am here for it. Wine has withstood time beyond the ages of any wine drinker in the market today, it was consumed throughout the timeline of human history. It knows the tales of development and speaks the ageless language of mother nature.
The experience of drinking wine has changed. Consumers are still buying the wine with the best label, but they are also drinking with more purpose. They are analyzing their likes and dislikes while slowly but surely developing a preference for the wine they consume.
Cheap wine, expensive wine, at a restaurant, on your couch, you are drinking history.
Happy sipping and I can’t wait to see where the industry takes us.