Bottles of wine

Top 80s Wine Trends That Stood The Test of Time

By freelance writer Jane Duncan

May 5 2020

The 80s will forever go down as one of the most memorable decades of all time, especially as far as food and drinks are concerned. Double-thick milkshakes and Trio Biscuits were red-hot favourites, with Slice Soda and Hedgehog Crisps also being responsible for a hefty dose of nostalgia
As far as alcoholic beverages were concerned, Blue Curacao, Babycham, Advocaat, and White Lightning were all extremely popular and definitely responsible for more than just a few hangovers.
There was, however, one category of drinks that stood head and shoulders above the rest: wine. Wine, in all its wonderful variants, was one of the most widely-consumed beverages throughout the 80s. Let’s have a closer look at some of the top wine trends of the decade that continue to be popular to this day.

Wine Coolers (Cocktails) Are Back With a Bang

In the U.S., Wine coolers were all the hype back in the 80s and with very good reason. A low-alcohol, carbonated drink consisting of cheap wine and artificial fruit flavours was considered the perfect drink for every occasion, including family get-togethers and disco parties. While wine coolers didn’t entirely disappear from the face of the earth when the 80s came to an end, it only recently started to regain some of its former popularity. 
Today, wine coolers come in a variety of funky flavours, such as cucumber and lime or watermelon and mint. Plus, they can often be found in both bottles and cool cans sporting retro designs reminiscent of a bygone era. Interestingly enough, it’s not just wine coolers that come in cans these days. As canned beverages become increasingly popular, a growing number of wineries are starting to offer their own products to consumers in a similar fashion, complete with colorful labels featuring expressive designs.
California Cooler (The Real Stuff) 80s advert

Chardonnay has never really left the building

If you were fortunate enough to grow up in the 80s, chances are you will remember your yuppie parents relishing in a glass or three of Chardonnay at one of a handful of fancy restaurants in your home town. The dry white wine was particularly popular during the 80s after California exploded onto the national wine scene with its biggest varietal — Chardonnay — becoming its signature grape. Ordering a glass of Chardonnay with your dinner became somewhat of status symbol in the 1980s, only to be downgraded to a cliché during the next decade.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Chardonnay was once again the USA’s best-selling wine, accounting for nearly one-fifth of table wine sold in retail outlets in the country. Over in the UK, Chardonnay also remains one of the most popular varietals with over 150 vineyards reportedly cultivating it. Your typical present-day Chardonnay might not have the same unsubtle butter and oak flavour profile as the offerings from back in the day, but it sure continues to have a great appeal to non-fastidious wine lovers.

Champagne has a timeless appeal

Before 1980, champagne and sparkling wine were only really consumed on very special occasions such as engagement parties, graduations, and weddings. Thanks to the 80s yuppie movement, however, bubbly soon became the drink of choice among individuals wanting to show off their newly-acquired affluence. The popularity of champagne continued to skyrocket and by 1987 the market was soaring – having doubled from the year before. 

While champagne is still considered a special-occasion beverage, more and more people consume it as a normal-day pleasure. In 2018, global champagne sales edged ahead of 2017 by 0.3  — a new record value. As long as there are celebrations to be had and people who prefer their daily wine to be bubbly, champagne will continue to be one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country.

Every year we are inundated with countless trends with varying degrees of staying power. The 80s were such a memorable age though, that it is no surprise that many wine trends from 40 years ago are still going strong to this very day. 

Wine Tasting Journal - Chardonnay Edition