If there’s one thing that the drinks industry has proved itself to be brilliant at down the years, it’s getting its priorities straight. Of talking about a minuscule label change while consumers abandon the category in their droves; of growing vines in a desert during a drought then complaining about lack of water rights; of launching a £2,000 bottle of whisky when people are unable to heat their homes.
And now, with Covid finally consigned back to China where it belongs it could get on with grappling with the Big Questions once again.
We’ve picked out half a dozen of our favourites from the last 12 months for you to enjoy at the start of this fresh new year. If nothing else just to remind you what a low bar 2023 has to clear to be better than its predecessor.
Issues of the Year 2022
Who am I? Where did I come from? Is existence futile? Talk to literally anyone in the drinks world, and you can guarantee that these questions will come up [are you sure about this? Ed]. So it was no surprise to see the New World wine producers complaining about being unfairly labelled as, er, from the New World.
Sustainability is on everyone’s lips at the moment. Much like Picpoul, sherry and tequila, if we believe the drinks columnists. But there is a growing feeling that in PR terms we are living beyond our means. and the hype around sustainability could actually be unsustainable.
Strong measures are required, no doubt. The kind of tough talking and decisive action epitomised by the decision to deport any of the fricking idiots who insist on holding a glass BY THE BOWL. Frankly, hanging’s too good for ’em.
That said, the industry hasn’t abandoned the terminally stupid completely. The WSET even introduced a new Level Zero qualification for them, pitched at their subterranean levels of ignorance and passable by your average amoeba.
Finally, this was also the year of the Emoji. The industry proved that it understands the importance of the Big Questions by throwing its weight behind a concerted campaign to bring in more diversity to the drinks emoji space. And Decanter – always ahead of the curve – led the way in shaking up the staid old world of tasting notes by announcing that henceforth their judges would have to record flavour, character and finish with fruit images, smiley icons and thumbs up signs.