Is there ever a time when wine isn’t trending? The answer, my friends, is a simple no. But as agricultural developments take place, and our taste for food changes over time, so too do our preference for a good ol’ glass of grape juice.
What is the story of wine, and how have our tastes changed? These are delicious questions that the people demanded answers to, so we set out to dig up some of the biggest wine trends of the past 30 years.
The raging eighties, where everything was bigger, better and wetter – especially the wine scene. Given that Californian wines exploded in the late seventies and early eighties, Chardonnay, Cali’s most notable grape variety, was everywhere. It became the go-to wine for restaurant goers, and it was suddenly chic to ask for ‘a glass of Chardonnay’ instead of a ‘glass of white.’
On the party scene, champagne was all the rage, seeing this French favourite (that was once reserved only for special occasions) become the choice of girls-about-town in every night club from here to NYC.
"On the party scene, champagne was all the rage." Image: Touchstone Pictures.
On the other end of the sparkling spectrum, we saw the introduction of wine coolers. Much like the music and fashion of the time, the eighties were all about that pop, and wine coolers were the sweet, fizzy friend of young soon-to-be wine lovers.
The Chardonnays of the eighties were bold and heavy in flavour, with vanillas and buttery flavours characterising the vintages of the time. Almost as a reaction to this, the wine connoisseurs of the nineties preferred lighter, more accessible bouquets and flavours.
As the punk and shoegaze took over the music scene, with Nirvana and Slowdive gracing our ears and supermodels painting their lips in darker shades, so too did our preference in wine deepen. Red was the new white, with Merlot quickly becoming the cream of the crop. With its round, fruity flavours that will satisfy almost any tongue, and its versatility of being both appropriate as a dinner and dessert wine, it’s easy to imagine why.
Varieties from Bordeaux were shipped around the world to satisfy both Australian and North American demand, and while the ‘French is best’ label stuck, Australian-made wines began making a name for themselves towards the end of the decade.