Now that all the New Year's poppers have popped, Champagne has been drunk, and novelty party glasses manufacturers finally stopped puzzling over how the hell to fit lenses into the numerals "2019," it's time for Unfiltered to take on our own annual challenge: Predicting the year in wine and pop culture to come.
At this time in 2018, we thought we had it all figured out, but now, one year older and wiser, we can see we only had most of it figured out. We predicted that like all other movies, wine movies would only be made in trilogies, and Somm 3 saw to it. We thought 2018 would be the year the wine robots learned to feel love, and for a time they did, happily mixing drinks and cracking jokes for their human caretakers—until we pushed them too far. And finally, we called it that chef José Andrés would win the Nobel Prize, vanquishing longtime rival Bobby Flay in a harrowing test of culinary ingenuity, ingredient artistry and human empathy. (OK, so far we only know Andrés has been nominated for the prize.)
What do we divine for two-zero-one-nine? Read on, and hold us to it! Get the Unfiltered newsletter delivered straight to your inbox on alternating Fridays—all the latest scoop on drinks in sports, movies, music, politics, art, crime and more!
There's nothing that could top the excitement, the intrigue and the gossip that marked last year's Royal Wedding … except, that is, this year's Royal Baby! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in October that they are expecting their first child together, and the world is already cooing over the little Lady or Lord—and placing bets on what the bundle of joy will be named. Among the Victorias and Alberts and other royal-sounding suggestions floating around, Unfiltered is offering another possibility: Considering the wine-centric craze surrounding the couple's nuptials, Harry and Meghan will surely name their child after a wine, grape or region!
The question is, what will it be? Perhaps Eden or Olivier, after one of the wines rumored to be at their wedding reception. Or maybe there will be a little baby Tig (short for "Tignanello") to pay homage to Meg's favorite super Tuscan. Start your betting now!
In 2018, the cool teens of Kendall-Jackson, Flora Springs and a handful of other wineries got together to write up a proposal for the creation of a #WhiteWineEmoji. Without the white wine emoji, wrote the authors to the Unicode Consortium (the keepers of phone glyphs), how were emoji users to convey "glass of white wine"? "The image of a 'red wine glass' + 'white box' does not clearly translate the meaning of 'white wine' in human language," they noted. Too true, of course, but in 2019, we're counterproposing that the proposal does not go far enough.
"Today, wine is ubiquitous worldwide and evokes strong personal and emotional connections and opinions," the winery petitioners argued in 2018. "In its simplest form, it boils down to, 'Are you a red or a white wine drinker?'"
With all due respect, this is antiquated thinking. It's 2019, and more and more people are identifying as pink wine drinkers, blue wine drinkers, green wine drinkers and other libational expressions that don't fit into a pat red/white wine binary. Their voices need to be emojed too, which is why in 2019, we're advocating for a #WineBeerEmoji. We submit that the image of a 'red wine glass' + 'clinking beer mugs' does not clearly translate the meaning of 'winebeer' in human language. As more and more people embrace their alcohol fluidity in 2019, we should have an emoji to celebrate our love of winebeer in our 🏠, 🏝 or 🚡.
Last year, we predicted (more or less) that the Millennials' nostalgia for remakes would ruin movies, and we weren't wrong—we just weren't thinking big enough. In fact, everywhere you looked in pop culture, the hits, hot trends and heartthrobs from the Y2K-era Millennial middle-school years were cool again in 2018: Mission Impossible, Super Mario Smash, Panic! At the Disco, Dick Cheney, daring your friends to eat detergent …
We thought 2018 would be all about wine movie reboots, but it was the musicians who scored the soundtrack to the late '90s and early '00s who made a splash on the wine scene: 50 Cent and the Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon released bottles full of bub', Pearl Jam poured Washington wine, Lenny Kravitz tasted the stars at Dom Pérignon and Kelly Clarkson took aim at wine haters on Twitter.
But only the Songbird Supreme, Mariah Carey, combined new tunes with retro-hip wine vibes in 2018: On the first song on her new album, "GTFO," Carey laments she "could've sworn you loved me harder / Might as well down this Caymus bottle" in a nod to the heady heyday of cult Napa Cabernet that coincided with the diva's own reign atop the charts.
In 2019, expect to see more faves from your Clinton-era Napster playlists and burned CD-Rs remix their hits with Dad's favorite Cabs: Jay Z's "'99 Harlans," Korn thrasher "Freak on Stag's Leap," Marcy Playground's whimsical low-fi groove "Sex and Kapcsandy," the infamous Los Del Rió earworm that will have you belting out "Ehhhyy Montelena!" Eminem smash "The Real Kapcsandy," Joan Osborne's plaintive "What If God Was Joseph Phelps?", the Verve's one-hit masterpiece "Bitter Sweet Kapcsandy," the Offspring's irreverent "Pretty Fly (for a White Wine)" … As the memorable reworked lines of Chumbawamba will put it: "He drinks an Eisele drink, he drinks a Melka drink, he drinks a Schrader drink, he drinks a Carter drink."
Or Kid Rock, as usual, will capture the moment best, kicking off the alt-rock fest DallaVallepalooza 2019 with an exuberant, "Bawitdaba da bang a dang Kapcsandy!"
In late 2018, the organization Wine Freedom (operated by the National Association of Wine Retailers) set up a GoFundMe campaign for a key Supreme Court case called Tennessee Retailers v. Zackary Blair, which, if ruled broadly, could have drastic consequences for wine lovers' ability to order their wines online and have them shipped right to them. The $26,120 raised in the campaign resulted in an amicus brief titled "81 Wine Consumers." Word is out it will be adapted to the silver screen (or iTunes). Spoilers ahead.
*Epic movie trailer voice* In a world where the Supreme Court of the United States cares more about states' rights and temperance than the unfettered flow of alcohol products across state lines, a landmark decision led to bans on the little out-of-state retailer shipping that was left in 2019, reducing wine lovers nationwide to have to leave their house, get in their car, and drive 5 minutes to their local wine store to get a bottle of #BarefootOrNothing [a real hashtag in 2019].
81 Wine Consumers tells the stories of every #WineFreedomWarrior who attached their name to the brief, following them along in 81 poignant if brief vignettes, as they come to terms with the annihilation of their wine rights.
Consumer Ashley Brandt (played by Elisabeth Moss) was part of a thriving tasting group in 2018, but after the fateful Supreme Court ruling, it became impossible to find any wines worth comparing and contrasting. The group was forced to disband. And then there's Katherine Granger (Sandra Bullock), who had ordered a case of prized wine just before the shipping ban came into effect, but it arrived too late and was quarantined at a UPS location. She sets out to find her precious Wine Box, which she does blindfolded for some reason that you'll only find out if you just watch the damn movie already.
Advance praise for 81 Wine Consumers:
"A masterpiece. We cried the whole way through."—The National Association of Wine Retailers
"Whoever thought up this plot has a chillingly dark mind … wait this is a true story?!"—The writers of Black Mirror
You might be surprised to learn that Unfiltered isn't just one pop-culture obsessed wine writer who spends all day trolling Twitter for story leads and watching late-night talk shows for wine references, but instead a collection of linguistically gifted enophiles with varying vinous interests and specialties. But once you recover from the initial shock of this revelation, think about the endless possibilities of whom we could recruit for our team in 2019 ….
While Emmanuel Macron would be a strong addition to the wine-meets-politics beat, and there's perhaps no one better than chef José Andrés to cover the intersection of food and humanitarianism, the one job application Unfiltered is anxiously awaiting is that of basketball superstar LeBron James.
The three-time NBA champion deserves an award for the number of times he's appeared in Unfiltered for his wine-soaked escapades on social media—and considering the surging popularity of wine among athletes (including fellow basketball players, hockey stars, footballers and more), it seems only right that Unfiltered would have someone cover the booming wine-and-sports beat from the inside.
LeBron, if you're reading this: With your birthday, your injury and probably some basketball stuff on your plate, we're sure you've already got plenty to keep you busy, but if you ever feel the urge to write about, say, Sassicaia (one of our favorites too!), DM us!
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