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Wine, wine everywhere

3 min read


Wine is everywhere these days, from high-end cellars to Walgreen’s shelves, but the growing ubiquity isn’t necessarily translating into higher consumption, according to Nielsen data. Wine sales volume increased 1.5% last year compared to a 4% rise in 2011, Advertising Age reported, while beer and liquor saw 2% increases.

Brewers reversed a 0.8% decline the year before and saw 44% growth of beer sales at bars and restaurants, most of it coming from new and improved brews. During the same period, wine sales at the same venues rose 32%, and there seemed to be a shortage of hot new wines to take the place of formerly uber-popular malbecs and moscatos, Nielsen Vice President Danny Brager told AdAge.

But just because beer may be catching up on the innovation front, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to wine. And there’s also the adage that everything old is new again — it fits when it comes to the Alois Lageder wines from Italy’s Alto-Adige region, which the family make using biodynamic techniques perfected in the 1920s, as The Miami Herald reported.

While personal tastes will decide the popularity of what’s in the bottle, some will no doubt try new things because of what’s on the bottle. Celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will put their names on the first bottles of wine from their Chateau Miraval in Correns, France, next month, Bloomberg News reported. The wines are made through a partnership with the Famille Perrin. “If you knew Brad and Angelina, you would see they are in search of perfection in everything,” said winemaker Marc Perrin. The stars and the established winemaking family will share equally in the profits.

Some names on popular wines aren’t nearly as famous, although Drew Barrymore’s Pinot Grigio is right up there, as The Sun-Herald reports. Some are silly words that may only mean something inside the head of the winemaker who coined them, while others may sound silly unless you know their meaning. Mollydooker is an Australian winery named for the local term for “southpaw,” Gnarly Head Cellars makes its best wine from the zinfandel grapes of 50-year-old gnarly headed vines and Hooker syrah represents nothing more than the Lawer Family Wines’ passion for rugby.

Those of us who drink wine learn to know which ones we like. Pairings can be trickier, though, so Lifehacker created a chart to help guide you to the types of wines that will pair best with particular food groups. And last month, New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov began offering wine suggestions with certain recipes in the paper’s food section.

He cautions readers, though, that his suggestions are simply a jumping-off point. “A description of a good wine represents a snapshot, freezing one moment in a bottle’s evolution, and a pairing suggestion reflects only one point on the spectrum of possibilities. Some suggestions may be precisely to your taste, and some not. Suggesting wine pairings should never inhibit an impulse to explore.”

Image credit: aluxum, via iStockphoto