The people, places and trends that impacted the wine world most this past year.
Amazon and Facebook acted as third--party marketers for wine sales in 2013, and Starbucks, 7–11, Frontgate and Burger King, among other surprising outlets, either launched or were testing wine retail programs this year, showing that wine in the mainstream is becoming an undeniable reality.
2. Real Men (and Women) Do Drink White Wine. Eclectic whites like Vinho Verde, Albariño and -Assyrtiko—not to mention stalwarts like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay—were at the top of many wine lists and on consumer tables as wine lovers sought lower-alcohol, multiple-glass-friendly pours that were easy to pair with food.
3. A Challenging Year for Crops. Unpredictable weather in Europe, including spring frosts and summer hailstorms, have rendered the 2013 variable at best in Spain, France and Italy. Even Chile had frost issues in September, which was unprece-dented. Call to action? Stock up on cellar-worthy 2010s from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, and do it soon.
4. Social Media and Wine. 2013 saw every major wine producer, importer and media outlet using -social media such as Twitter and Facebook heavily to promote themselves and overall wine education and consumption. Even traditionalists accepted the necessity, a reflection that wine culture is living very prominently in the digital space.
5. Wine as Exploration. New wine-producing regions—sometimes in unlikely places—continued to crop up in 2013, proving that wine is truly a global affair. In exotic locales like mainland China, central Brazil and Baja, Mexico, as well as closer-to-home Virginia, plantings increased, while eclectic wines from unique places (think sparklers from Tasmania and orange wines from Slovenia) were au courant in wine bars across the country.