Chardonnay became so popular—to the detriment of other wines—that some people insisted on ordering “ABC,” or “Anything But Chardonnay.” “Anything But Cabernet” is another “ABC” order. “ABC” (meaning “Anything But Chardonnay” or “Alternatives Beyond Chardonnay") and “ABCS” ("Anything But Cabernet Sauvignon") were cited in The Independent (UK) on July 25, 1992.
The Wine Spectator
The ABC crowd ("Anything but Chardonnay” or “Anything but Cabernet") is going to love our choices for Spectator Selection and Cellar Selection.
The Independent (UK)
Food & Drink: America’s ABC - Anything But Chardonnay: Weaned off iced tea and coke by cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, the US public may now want something more than ‘drinkability’, says Anthony Rose
ANTHONY ROE Saturday 25 July 1992 00:02 BST
Perhaps as a reaction to the tyranny of chardonnay, there is a movement called ABC (Anything But Chardonnay or Alternatives Beyond Chardonnay, depending whom you talk to). ‘In the more chic circles,’ says the winemaker Sandra MacIver, ‘chardonnay is almost a dirty word.’
The ABCS (Anything But Cabernet Sauvignon) society cannot surely be far behind.
18 August 1993, Burlington (NC) Times-News, “Winery ‘eschews ordinary’” (Knight-Ridder News Service), pg. C3, col. 6:
In the beginning, Eagle Ridge made fume blanc, sauvignon blanc and. yes. even chardonnay. But Lawrence and McGuire, who was schooled in enology at the University of California. Davis, vowed to make Eagle Ridge an ABC (Anything But Chardonnay or Cabernet, or. Adventure Beyond Compare) winery.
2 March 1995, Marietta (GA) Journal, “Hip to say anything but chardonnay” by Anthony Dias Blue, pg. 9B, col. 1:
SAN FRANCISCO—The latest hip wine thing to say is: “I’m a member of the A.B.C. club.”
“What is the A.B.C. club?” they ask.
“Anything But Chardonnay!”
New York (NY) Times
By Frank J. Prial
Published: August 30, 1995
THERE is in this country a loosely knit group of wine enthusiasts whose guiding principle is expressed in the letters A.B.C. With so many institutions and ideas being questioned these days, this group is very much in tune with the times. A.B.C. stands for anything but chardonnay.
It had to happen. For almost 20 years, chardonnay, or more specifically, wine made from the chardonnay grape, has been the cornerstone of America’s wine culture. People who know nothing of and care little for the trappings of wine unhesitatingly request “a glass of chardonnay, please.”
6 September 1995, The Advocate (Stamford, CT), “On Wine” by William Rice, pg. C5, col. 2:
The two ABC movements ("anything but chardonnay” and “anything but cabernet"), launched by wine collectors and wine writers, have made consumers curious about other varietal wines. But that hasn’t stemmed the flow of chardonnay and cabernet.
March 1997, Orange Coast magazine (Costa Mesa, CA), “Beyond the Label” by Ron Loutherback, pg. 168, col. 1:
When he called me, I translated the cryptic phrase — ABC is winespeak for “Anything But Chardonnay.” Now, if I were a chardonnay grape, I would be crushed to learn that this odious term is being bandied about in the trade.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine Essential Buying Guide 2007
By Sarah O’Brien and Jennifer Leczkowski
Philadelphia, PA: Running Press
Although in the 1990s the media touted an “A.B.C.” phenomenon — anything but Chardonnay — the wine remains a triumph.
Drinking a glass of chardonnay. On the one hand, a friend told me “ABC”, or Anything But Chardonnay. Another says “When in Rome”. Rome wins.
1:25 AM - 23 Dec 2007
Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald
October 15, 2015 - 5:09PM
Treasury Wine Estates follows ABC rule of Anything But Chardonnay
Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Mike Clarke followed the ABC rule religiously for one part of the $754 million acquisition of most of Diageo’s wine business. Anything But Chardonnay.
The phrase Anything But Chardonnay was coined in the early 2000s after the market in both Australia and the United States was awash with the white wine variety, which was extremely popular among drinkers. But fashions and trends shift and its popularity waned.