The creation of fine wine is a world apart from volume wine production.
Traditionally, France has led the way (in both performance and price) when it
comes to high-end, premium vintages, but Berrys believes stiff competition from
around the world could soon see the fine wine league table turned on its
Will China beat Bordeaux?
China is set to establish itself as a leading producer of volume wine, but
Berrys believes China also has all the essential ingredients to make fine wine
to rival the best of Bordeaux.
While most Chinese wines seem alien to Western palates, a new breed of Chinese
winemaker, backed by foreign investment and technical advice, is already trying
to change that reputation.
Berry Bros. & Rudd's experts estimate that China's current 400 wineries
will mutiply more than ten-fold, with up to a quarter producing fine quality
Jasper Morris MW comments: "I absolutely think China will be a fine wine player
rivalling the best wines from France. It is entirely conceivable that, in such
a vast country, there will be pockets of land with a terroir and micro-climate
well suited to the production of top quality wines."
India's thirst for fine wine
Today, the Indian wine industry is still in its infancy; however technology
exchange in winemaking and viticulture from Europe and Australasia means India
is likely to challenge the supremacy of traditional winemaking countries.
Local demand (the market for wine in India has been growing at over 25% per
year) and aggressive promotion from the state government means more and more
ambitious Indians are turning to fine wine as a mark of social standing.
Berrys believes, if the increasing number of vineyards planted in parts of
western and southern India are any indication, India will soon be taken
seriously as a fine wine-growing nation.
Alun Griffiths MW predicts: "India has the potential to embrace wine in a big
way and the economic muscle to dictate to producers what style of wine they
should be making."
Bow down to British Bubbly
Thanks in part to warmer temperatures (2007 was the second warmest year in the
UK in 356 years) more and more English land is becoming suitable for wine
Today, there are 1,000 vineyards in England across Kent, Hampshire, Essex and
Sussex and production in 2006 was just over 3.3 million bottles. Berrys
believes, the amount of English farmland devoted to wine production may rival
that of France by 2058 .
French Champagne producers such as Louis Roederer have been looking at the
chalky soil of the South Downs with interest, believing it offers them a great
opportunity to produce sparkling wines similar to Champagne itself.
Recent international blind-tasting competitions even saw some English sparkling
wines triumphing over the best Champagnes.
Berrys' experts commented, "If British growers get support from British
drinkers and are able to compete on price they may be able to compete with
Jonathan Ray, Wine Editor, Daily Telegraph
"By 2058 it will be quicker to count those countries that don't make wine than
to count those that do. India will have embraced the grape, foreign know-how
having identified the best sites for both bulk and single estate wines. In
Central and South America, countries such as Mexico and Brazil will have
followed the lead of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay in making great value wines
of real character. Long-established, but often underrated areas such as
Languedoc-Roussillon will also have found a new lease of life. At present,
these two regions account for almost a third of France's total current
production and I would expect quantity to fall and quality to rise as producers
concentrate on biodynamic and organic practices and lower yields."
The en primeur market, where people buy cases of wine before they're even
bottled, has already created strong links between the wine and the investment
world. As prices continue to increase, so will the investment potential, with
futures markets and hedge funds capitalising on interest in the leading
Berrys predicts wine 'talent' scouts - agents on the ground who monitor and
track the growth of particular vines - will appear, providing eagle-eyed
investors with advance notice of the bestperforming vines.
World Wine Wars
Rising global demand for fine wines - both for investment and for drinking -
and limited availability of First Growth wines from top châteaux means prices
will continue to rise inexorably over the next 50 years until fine wine becomes
the preserve of the very rich.
Berrys believes, by 2058, global bidding wars will take place for the top wines
and the most soughtafter wines will become prohibitively expensive and
extremely difficult to obtain.
This, combined with burgeoning interest in fine wine in Asia, South America,
Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, will create a market so competitive that
bidding wars for the few cases of highly-praised, limited production wines will
be common and a case of wine from a great vintage could cost £10m.
Simon Staples, Fine Wine Sales Director at Berry Bros. & Rudd believes: "If
values increase by 15% per annum, as they have been doing recently, a case of
2005 Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, currently available for £9,200, could be worth just
shy of £10 million by 2058."
Choosing Alternatives to Cork
Berrys believes, despite all the protestations of improvement from the cork
industry, it is still outrageous to accept a failure rate even as low as 2% in
Future generations will look back on this era in amazement at the thought that,
after all the technological advances made in the vineyard and cellar, we
continued to finish off the process by shoving a piece of tree bark in the
More and more state-of-the-art wineries are moving to screwcap and stelvin will
become the standard for the majority of the world's wines.
Alun Griffiths MW predicts: "Advances in technology will produce a product with
cork's ability to allow only a little ingress of oxygen. It is inconceivable we
will be using cork in 50 years' time - except for perhaps 1 or 2% of very fine
wines that still require maturation."
Companies are already making glass stoppers for fine wine that plug the opening
and are secured in place with an aluminium cap. Australian fine wine producer
Penfolds Grange are developing a glass closure which fits perfectly flat over
the bottle and neck
If glass bottles are still in use, Berrys predicts new, man-made closures will
be used that replicate the function of corks without their potentially damaging
Berrys' experts commented: "By 2058 every bottle of fine wine will have a
synthetic 'smart cork' embedded with a chip hardly larger than a grain of rice.
The smart cork can hold pages of information about wine, its producer and its
provenance, and the chip can both send and receive information - bringing an
end to fake bottles."
An increasing problem in the world of fine wine is fake bottles. As demand and
prices rise, fine wines have become an increasingly attractive target for
The recent rejection of an £18,000 magnum of 1961 Ch. Pétrus from a top London
restaurant is an example of the problem that counterfeiting poses for the wine
With a few notable exceptions, producers have been slow to take responsibility
for minimising the risk of fraud but chips embedded in bottles or corks could
well be used to give consumers a greater level of assurance of
Chips could also advise customers of a wine's style and even indicate whether
it is faulty pre-purchase by recognising unwelcome aromas or flavours - talking
bottles in other words.
"Waiter, there's a bee in my wine"
Berrys believes, if you order a bottle of 2005 Ch. Margaux in 2058 that is
corked, it's unlikely you'll get the chance to taste it as top restaurants
introduce innovative measures to ensure customers receive nothing but the
Recent developments in biotechnology have shown honeybees have a finely
developed sense of smell. This sense of smell can be harnessed and honeybees
trained to recognise particular odours, such as corked wine, and associate that
smell with food.
When they detect a corked bottle, a trained honeybee will extend its proboscis.
This reaction can be easily detected by software (and incorporated into a small
personal device carried by a sommelier) - ensuring the corked bottle never
reaches the customer.
By 2058, every sommelier could have their own personal bee.