在30 年前波爾多葡萄酒和勃艮第葡萄酒的產地，如今的品酒者可以在一位曾代表加州羅伯特•蒙大維(Robert Mondavi)酒莊葡萄酒的奧地利人的幫助下，選擇一款中國葡萄酒或者由波爾多最著名的釀造商生產的印度葡萄酒。倫敦Bibendum Wine副董事長和葡萄酒分析師西蒙•法爾(Simon Farr)表示：“幾乎所有你認為不會生產葡萄酒的地方現在都開始生產了。”曾參與多個全球性葡萄酒項目的法爾即將前往加州的Baja，與一位最近購買了 位於法國凱特羅那Agly Valley葡萄園的墨西哥人就一新項目展開合作。
與1971年相比，如今的葡萄酒王國發生了很大變化，規模也變大了。當時，我的聯席作者休•約翰森(Hugh Johnson)推出了《世界葡萄酒地圖》(The World Atlas of Wine)第一版。這本最漂亮的葡萄酒著作當時只有236頁，介紹了世界各地的葡萄酒產區（其中，南美葡萄酒產區僅有兩個）。週四出版的第六版則多達400頁。
距離我們推出最後一版的時間已過去6年。那是2001年9月13日，當時流傳著一種不安氣氛，葡萄酒似乎非常落後且沒有意義。然而，此後，葡萄酒王國日益成 為財富的一個重要發動機和（可能更為重要的）指標。如今，在世界範圍內，收藏葡萄酒被視為金融成功的合理甚至預期中的必要因素，就像高爾夫俱樂部的會員或 重要地產的投資。來自亞洲、俄羅斯以及拉美的興趣給傳統大牌葡萄酒、一級波爾多葡萄酒以及最受追捧的Grand Cru勃艮第葡萄酒的價格帶來了極大的壓力。拉美的興趣正日益增長。幾千美元一瓶而非兩瓶的價格，使得它們被視為奢侈品市場的一部分，同時，它們還面臨著 Vintage Wine Fund等投資基金的額外壓力，這些基金創立的目的是從葡萄酒作為貿易商品的地位中受益，但在手袋行業這就不算是受益因素。
同時，我們之中那些品嘗過葡萄酒更民主氣息的人們欣喜地看到，葡萄酒已成為大眾的休閒樂趣，尤其是在全球最大消費市場：美國。最後，美國葡萄酒似乎已擺脫了 與烈酒和啤酒那種具有破壞性的聯繫，成為一種健康、具有智力和社交意義的追求。在奧斯卡獲獎影片《杯酒人生》(Sideways)、喝彩聲不多的《A Good Year》以及關於法國和加州Judgment of Paris品酒會（或稱為Paris taste-off）產量不多於兩部的影片中，葡萄酒在以節儉聞名的好萊塢卻被放在了重要的位置。2015年前，Impact Databank預測，儘管美國葡萄酒個人消費量仍遠遠落後於英國，尤其是歐洲領先葡萄酒產國，但美國將成為全球葡萄酒最大消費國。
甚至在法國、義大利、西班牙和葡萄牙等國，葡萄酒展現出了新的魅力。上世紀末，這些國家生產葡萄酒一般被視為理所當然的事情，從數量上來看，消費者主要是老 人和窮人。葡萄酒出版物、葡萄酒酒吧、葡萄酒俱樂部如今正在歐洲大陸繁盛起來，而以前這些地方將葡萄酒視為嚴格意義上的農產品，而非文化追求。去年，倫敦 葡萄酒與烈酒教育基金會(Wine & Spirit Education Trust)面向39個國家、說9種語言的2萬葡萄酒愛好者，推出了葡萄酒課程。現在不管我走到哪里，幾乎都會碰到該基金會熱情的學生。
毫不令人意外的是，越來越多通常沒有任何葡萄酒背景的人希望從事葡萄酒的生產。擁有一個葡萄園或一家酒廠幾乎已成為一種生活方式的宣言。在其他不同領域獲得 財富（在這些領域他們可能對每一分錢都很在乎）的許多人似乎樂於將自己的財富消耗在浮華的專案上，讓他們與美酒產生某種聯繫，或讓他們的名字出現在葡萄酒 標籤上。很多名人，包括法蘭西斯•科波拉(Francis Coppola)、傑勒德•德帕爾迪厄(Gérard Depardieu)、克利夫•理查(Cliff Richard)、施廷(Sting)和沙恩•沃恩(Shane Warne)都已進軍葡萄酒生產領域。
同時，普通葡萄酒的供應仍相當充裕，尤其是歐洲：全球的葡萄酒產量遠高於消費量。再加 上全球大規模零售商的購買力，這意味著，過去20年，多數普通葡萄酒的價格仍沒有變動。然而，由於葡萄酒日常生產採用了更高效的技術，儘管高低檔葡萄酒的 價格差距拉大，但質量差異卻縮小了。如今，看到質量差的葡萄酒的機會極少，儘管貨架上擺放著很多枯燥的葡萄酒系列，但歐洲傳統葡萄酒生產國的葡萄酒供應仍 相當充裕，這令人尷尬。歐盟(EU)官方機構估計，歐洲約有14%的葡萄酒產量——足以盛滿33億瓶——屬於供應過剩，還要付錢將其中很大一部分蒸餾製成 酒精。
本世紀已經開發出的葡萄酒產區之一就位於南緯8度巴西北部，在這片基本上屬於熱帶的沙漠裏，人們想不到葡萄在那裏有生存的希望，但來自附近聖法蘭西斯科河定 時的灌溉，使得這裏每年有兩個完整的葡萄生長季節，這令每瓶葡萄酒的成本降低了一半。這不是現代熱帶葡萄栽培的唯一成功例子。我可以證明，泰國、越南和巴 厘島也能生產甘冽的美酒。如今，玻利維亞、厄瓜多爾、肯雅、納米比亞和斯里蘭卡等不太可能產葡萄的地方也出現了這種“新緯度葡萄栽培”。
葡 萄園產地不僅正緩慢向赤道靠近，也在向極地附近靠近，這肯定是氣候變化的有利影響之一。實際上，英國媒體預測，全球變暖將迫使法國東部香檳地區的葡萄酒廠 商，投資於英格蘭南部白堊質土壤的丘陵地區。儘管Sussex的起泡葡萄酒（Sparkling）與香檳有些差距，但最近幾年，其質量以及英格蘭無氣泡葡萄酒的質量顯著提高，因為葡萄的自然成熟度遠高於以前。
這種現象在哪個地方都沒有在德國表現得明顯，市場對德國雷司令 (Rieslings)酒的需求空前高漲，特別是美國的需求量非常高，因為這種刺激性葡萄酒現在依靠水果本身的成熟就足夠可口，而不需要依靠糖味令它變得 可口。當然，這有助於造就新一代雄心勃勃的德國葡萄酒釀造商，比如萊因黑森(Rheinhessen)地區的凱勒(Keller)和威特曼 (Wittmann)等新星，它們的產品與大眾市場上的“甜酒”毫無關係，而這種“甜酒”曾經在德國葡萄酒出口中占很高的比例。
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The world of wine is so different from and so much bigger than it was in 1971 when my co-author Hugh Johnson launched the first edition of The World Atlas of Wine. The most handsome volume on wine ever to have been published then had a mere 236 pages devoted to the wines of the world (with a total of two on South America). The sixth edition, published on Thursday, groans under the weight of 400.
It has been six years since we launched the last edition, in the eerie atmosphere that prevailed on September 13 2001, when wine seemed so desperately irrelevant and frivolous. Since then, however, the world of wine has increasingly established itself as an important generator and, perhaps even more importantly, indicator of wealth. All over the world now, a wine collection is regarded as a desirable, even expected, accoutrement to financial success, just like membership of the right golf club or investment in significant real estate. New interest from Asia, Russia and, increasingly, Latin America has put extraordinary pressure on prices of the traditional trophy wines, the Bordeaux first growths and most sought-after Grand Cru burgundies. At thousands of dollars a bottle rather than a case nowadays, they can be regarded as part of the luxury goods market, with the additional pressure of investment funds such as the Vintage Wine Fund that have been established to benefit from their status as a trading commodity – hardly a factor in the handbag business.
At the same time, those of us who savour wine's more democratic appeal have noticed with pleasure how wine has become such a popular leisure interest, especially in the world's biggest consumer market of all, the United States. At long last, wine in the US seems to have thrown off its damaging associations with hard liquor and beer to emerge as a wholesome, intellectually and socially nourishing pursuit. With the Oscar-winning Sideways, the rather less acclaimed A Good Year and no fewer than two films in production about the France v California Judgment of Paris (or “Paris taste-off”), wine is even big in famously abstemious Hollywood. By 2015, Impact Databank predicts the US will become the world's biggest consumer of wine, albeit with per capita consumption still lagging far behind that of Britain and, especially, the leading European wine producing countries.
Even in countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, where at the end of the last century wine was still typically taken for granted and mainly drunk, in quantity, by the elderly and impoverished, wine has acquired a new glamour. Wine publications, wine bars and wine clubs all now thrive on mainland Europe, where previously wine was seen as a strictly agricultural product rather than cultural pursuit. In the last academic year the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust has taught wine courses to more than 20,000 wine lovers in 39 countries and nine languages. I meet eager WSET students almost wherever I go in the world.
It is hardly surprising, then, that more and more people, often with no background whatsoever in the wine business, want to produce wine. Owning a vineyard or winery has become almost a lifestyle statement. Many who have earned a fortune in a quite different field, where every penny was presumably counted, seem happy to fritter away their fortune on a vanity project that gives them some sort of bibulous connection to the earth, or least a wine label with their name on it. A string of celebrities including Francis Coppola, Gérard Depardieu, Cliff Richard, Sting and Shane Warne have gone into wine production.
Meanwhile, there is still a glut of much more ordinary wine, particularly in Europe: the world is still producing far more wine than it consumes. This, together with the buying muscle of the big retailers worldwide, means that the price of the most basic wine has remained remarkably static over the past 20 years. But while the price gap between the top and bottom of the wine market is wider than it has ever been, the difference in quality between top and bottom is arguably narrower than ever before, thanks to the ever more efficient application of technology to everyday wine production. Today, it is extremely rare to come across a bad wine – even if an army of bottles of boring wine lines many a shelf and there is still an embarrassingly deep lake of surplus wine in the traditional wine-producing countries of Europe. European Union authorities reckon that about 14 per cent of Europe's wine production – enough to fill 3,300m bottles – is surplus to requirements, and pays to have much of it distilled into alcohol.
The world map of wine regions, however, is hardly recognisable from the 1971 version of the Atlas. In my early days of wine study I had to memorise two neat bands around the globe – one in the temperate zone of each hemisphere, roughly 30 to 50 degrees from the equator – which we all thought then defined the only territory open to the grapevine. How wrong we were.
One of the wine regions to have developed this century is just eight degrees south of the equator, in northern Brazil, in what is, basically, tropical desert where vines would be expected to stand no chance but, thanks to cunningly timed irrigation from the nearby S?o Francisco river, are tricked into two full growing seasons a year, thereby halving production costs per bottle. This is far from the only example of successful modern tropical viticulture. I can attest that perfectly drinkable wine is now made in Thailand, Vietnam and on the island of Bali. What might be called New Latitude viniculture also now takes place in such unlikely locations as Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya, Namibia and Sri Lanka.
Not only have vineyards crept much closer to the equator, the extent of viticulture has moved polewards – arguably one of the more benign effects of climate change. Indeed, barely a year passes without the British media speculating about how global warming will force producers in the Champagne region in north-east France to invest in the similarly chalky downs of southern England. While Sussex Sparkling is a fair way from supplanting champagne, its quality, and even that of England's still wines, has increased noticeably over recent years as grapes reach much higher natural ripeness levels than they used to.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more marked than in Germany, which is experiencing unparalleled demand for its Rieslings, especially from the US, now that this nervy wine can be relied upon to have enough genuine fruit ripeness of its own, without having to rely on sweetness to make it palatable. It helps, of course, that there is a new generation of ambitious German winemakers such as the new stars of Rheinhessen Keller and Wittmann whose produce bears no relation whatever to the mass-market sugarwater that used to make up such a high proportion of Germany's wine exports.
(To Be Continued)