Looking back on 2019, VinePair can report that it’s been a high-quality vintage for wine stories. Among our most popular features of the year, we highlighted the rise of interesting new categories, and shared a range of recommendations, from our overall favorite bottles, to under-the-radar travel destinations and canny sommelier-approved supermarket picks.
Some of our leading stories featured in-depth cultural discussions, including the wine industry overlooking black consumers — particularly black women — and the misleading notions surrounding natural wine and wellness culture.
Here are VinePair’s 10 most popular wine stories of 2019. Thanks for reading, and see you next year!
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10. With Changing Priorities and Contested Certifications, ‘Sommelier’ Is Increasingly Hard to Define
In recent years, multiple high-profile sommeliers have transitioned from working on restaurant floors to forging new careers as full-time winemakers, retailers, brand representatives, educators, or authors. Yet, they are still referred to as “sommeliers” in mainstream media. It begs the question: What constitutes a modern-day sommelier?
9. Natural Wine, Wellness Culture, and the Power of Positive Drinking
On June 3, 2019, The New York Times published an essay titled “Natural Wine Is My Self-Care.” Unfortunately, the widely shared (and beautifully written) piece contained multiple inaccuracies, most notably the categorically incorrect notion that natural wine is somehow medically, morally, or spiritually superior to traditionally produced wine.
8. Why Is the Wine Industry Ignoring Black Americans’ $1.2 Trillion Buying Power?
For black drinkers, and black women in particular, there are certain expectations about the type of wine they should be enjoying. These assumptions, which are apparent in the marketing strategies of major wine brands, suggest the industry is ignoring the $1.2 trillion buying power of black American consumers.
7. French Laundry Failed Saber Attempt Shows How Not to Open a $2K Nebuchadnezzar
A 15-liter, $2,000 bottle of Champagne, an ornamental sword, and a crowd of onlookers filming on their smartphones: What could go wrong? Well, quite a lot, as the staff of Napa Valley’s three-Michelin-starred French Laundry restaurant found out on New Year’s Eve 2018.
6. We Asked Wine Pros: What Are the Best and Worst Trends in Wine Right Now?
To find out which fads have had their day and which are just hitting their stride, VinePair polled leading wine pros from around the country and asked for their takes on the best and worst trends in wine right now.
5. The 50 Best Wines of 2019
VinePair shared our top 50 wines of 2019, ushering readers into the new year (and decade!) with a list of wonderful experiences to discover with a glass in hand, All the bottles included in the list are widely available nationwide, offer great value for money, and are drinking well right now.
4. Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Wine Isn’t ‘Real’ Wine, and That’s O.K.
We live in a bourbon-barrel bubble. From maple syrup to beer, gin, and wine, nothing is off limits when it comes to aging a product inside a used bourbon barrel, then releasing it to huge public demand. In the case of bourbon-barrel-aged wine, a fundamental question arises: Is it actually wine?
3. We Asked 10 Sommeliers: What’s Your Go-To Supermarket Wine?
Buying wine from your local supermarket can certainly be convenient, but finding a good bottle among those of questionable quality — not to mention overwhelming quantity — can be challenging. To find out how to make the best supermarket selections, VinePair asked sommeliers across the country what grocery store bottles they’re grabbing when they’re in a pinch.
2. The World’s Top 10 Wine Destinations for 2019
Taking a step off the beaten path reveals hidden gems and the opportunity to produce envy-inducing Instagram stories. While we love Napa, Bordeaux, and Tuscany, VinePair wanted to highlight exciting regions beyond those usual suspects. Here are 10 travel destinations we believe should be on every wine lover’s radar.
1. The 25 Best Rosé Wines of 2019
It’s a great time to drink rosé in America. Thanks to consumers’ seemingly bottomless thirst for all things pink, beautifully balanced rosés are flooding the market from winemakers around the world.
To compile our list of the 25 best rosé wines available in 2019, we gathered a panel of drinks professionals and tasted a lot (no, seriously, a lot) of pink wines over several weeks. We rated them based on quality, of course, but our final ranking also considered availability and value.