Unfiltered has a hangover. Not from New Year's itself, but from pretty much all of 2007. We couldn't have predicted how silly a year it would be. Of course, we tried, but none of Unfiltered's 2007 predictions panned out. Well, OK, we sort of got one right when we predicted that Paris Hilton would become the next Bond girl, in that she got spray-painted gold for a Rich Prosecco ad. That's pretty close, right? OK, maybe not, but Unfiltered's motto has always been, "If at first you don't succeed in mocking, try, try again," so here's our predictions for 2008 based on items reported on WineSpectator.com over the past year. If any of these predictions come true, we'll start playing the lottery so we can win, become famous, and set up our own winery solely for the purpose of becoming the subject of our own ridicule.
• In 2007, a group of Napa Valley vintners turned heads with the release of a nude calendar to benefit the Napa County Farm Bureau. In 2008, Unfiltered predicts the release of a celebrity-wino nude calendar, featuring Johnny Depp wearing nothing but his "Wino forever" tattoo in his vineyard in Plan de la Tour, France; Jason Priestley with a strategically located glass of Nota Bene; and Paris Hilton reenacting the pose she took for a Rich Prosecco ad, only this time painted with common vineyard canopy sprays. She will then become the only living human resistant to glassy-winged sharpshooters.
• With all the sports celebrities in the wine business, Wayne Gretzky being one of the most recent entrants, Unfiltered predicts that slugger Barry Bonds will get his vino on in 2008. The wine will come in one of those uber-sized, heavy bottles, and will be called 756*. The wine will be high in alcohol, heavily extracted and extremely brooding.
• In 2007, Oregon wineries vowed to go carbon neutral after Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a bill calling for state industries to reduce their carbon emissions. Unfiltered predicts that in 2008 Al Gore will propose recycled wine. People will take their unopened, unused wines to local recycling facilities, where the wines will be combined in a large tank. Wine lovers will drive to the facility to fill up empty water and soda bottles for $2 per gallon. Gas to get there will cost $9 per gallon.
• Kevin Federline, a.k.a. Daddy Spears version 1.0, was seen this year—as were other celebrities—wearing vintage Boone's Farm T-shirts. Unfiltered predicts that in 2008, the trend will reverse: We'll see Robert Mondavi wearing a vintage Menudo T-shirt.
• In 2007, actress Gwyneth Paltrow hit the road with Mario Batali, Mark Bittman and some Spanish singer-actress we never heard of to make a TV series about Spanish cuisine. The show will air in 2008 on PBS, but Unfiltered predicts that the show goes wildly over budget, and the second season features Mario and New Jersey natives Kelly Ripa, Kevin Smith and Tara Reid exploring the cuisine of mega-mall food courts.
• In 2007, wine showed up in some pretty unusual places: on MTV ... inside women's bras ... and at speed-dating events, just to name a few. For 2008, Unfiltered predicts we'll see wine turn up in the following unexpected places: hot-yoga studios, at nudist colonies, and all along the Jersey Turnpike.
• This past year, the marketing-silliness that surrounds sparkling wines kicked off with an Austrian bottle featuring 49 diamonds and worth about $13,200, and ended with Veuve Cliquot's leather-labeled Yellowboam. And somewhere along the way, Krug went and released a new vintage Champagne that'll burn a $3,000 hole in your pocket. Unfiltered predicts that in 2008, a house will introduce a six-foot-tall bottle with a real-live supermodel floating inside it in stasis, who'll awake to profess her undying love for you the instant you pop the cork. Retail price will be $4 million and your soul.
• At the end of last year, the European Union finally agreed on sweeping reforms to save the continent's wine industry, which has long suffered from overproduction and quality problems. In January 2008, after the New Year's hangover wears off, Europe's winemakers will all change their minds and start over from scratch. By 2010 Europe will become the world's biggest producer of "prestige" ethanol cuvées.
• We're starting to see the results of the legendary 2005 Bordeaux growing season, but we also already know that 2006 is good, while 2007 is probably going to be average at best. So for 2008, Unfiltered predicts that the rainstorms in Bordeaux will be so severe that each wine producer will be forced to build a wooden ark in order to survive the flooding. However, once the waters recede, winemakers will be frequently quoted as saying, "It was a difficult year, but by reducing yields and controlling canopies, we managed to make excellent wines."
• Since the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) decided to put new petitions for American Viticultural Appellations on hold, Napa Valley wine producers will establish their own system of vineyard classification by the spring of 2008, Unfiltered predicts. The top group, consisting of Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Schrader, Opus One and Bond, will be called Cru Haves, while everyone else will be classified as Cru Have-Nots. The classification system will then be scrapped one month later, after Constellation Brands buys absolutely everyone.
• In 2008, Kendall-Jackson winery founder Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, part owners of the racehorse Curlin, will continue to invest more in winery and thoroughbred acquisitions. As a reward for his 2007 Breeders Cup Classic win, Curlin will be named the company's chief winemaker.
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