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How Wine Became a Billion Dollar High Brow Hobby [Slideshow]

Wine — as an American cultural tour de force, as something to “get into,” as the yuppie recreational drug of choice, as an excuse to let Paul Giamatti frown for two hours straight and call it film — is a relatively recent phenomenon. A new exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art pegs the shift to 1976, when a bunch of Frenchies declared, in a blind taste test, that California wine was better than their own stuff. (Burrrrrrrrrn!)

It’s been on a fasttrack to bougieland since. How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now charts this meteoric rise, with an emphasis on the visual aspects of wine culture, from labels and stems to art and architecture. The point here is to show the role design has played in transforming wine from a niche interest into a full-blown pastime. New York starchitects Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed the exhibition. We, erm, uncork the details above.

[All images courtesy of SF MOMA] SL