What should wine lovers expect in 2011? More debate over direct shipping, and hopefully we'll get that privilege here in Maryland this year. But will be able to order from out-of-state retailers, or just wineries? And will we be allowed to bring our own wines to restaurants in Maryland?
Politics is likely to dominate debate in other states as well, as governors in Virginia and Pennsylvania try to privatize their states' liquor control regimes. Should the government be in charge of selling alcoholic beverages? It's a worthy question with no simple answer.
Local wine will continue to gather buzz as well. The DrinkLocalWine.com conference focused blogger attention on Virginia last year - look for more this year when the Wine Bloggers Conference comes to Charlottesville - the Napa of the East.
Consumers, of course, will continue to seek value. We've learned that we don't have to pay top dollar to get a really good wine - we just may have to search a little harder. $10 is the new $20, etc.
And where will we find bargains this year? My prediction for the hot "new" bargain wine region is none other than France, as wines from the textbook 2009 vintage reach our retail shelves throughout the year. My January Recession Busters list in today's Washington Post already has a few French 09s, and you can expect many more throughout the year!
Happy drinking, everyone!