Guess Vintage London TrafficGuest Author Alex Bridgeman muses...  One of the things that I love to do when I open a bottle of port, is to think about the things that were happening in the world when the grapes I am about to drink were growing. What was the world like when the vines were slumbering through the winter? What events were making the headlines when the buds were breaking? What fashions were popular when the bees were busy pollinating the vine flowers? What did people drive? What did the cities look like? What music were people listening to?

This is the second of an occasional series. Without cheating, can you identify the year that produced this vintage from the key events that took place in the world that year? No prizes for being successful, but you do earn bragging rights on FTLOP if you are correct.

The answer is a little further at the bottom of this article.

  • Bad weather in spring and early summer lead to desavinho, reducing the amount of fruit set and harvest. Combined with a drought from late June to early October with intense heat in September the grapes were harvested in a very healthy condition with no trace of rot or mould. Musts were said to have shown exceptional colour and body and made exceptionally dark wines.
  • The Dow Jones index was 805, interest rates in the US were 11.75%, the average cost of a new house was $54,800 and the average annual wage was $17,000, gas cost 63c per gallon. In the UK the average house cost £13,650, petrol cost 79p per gallon, inflation was 8.3% and UK bank base rates were 12.5%


  • The Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl in the first night-time game shown live on TV; Argentina win the World Cup, Wales win the 5 Nations Championship with a Grand Slam; Al Unser wins the Indy 500; Brian Clough leads Nottingham Forest to win England's Football League's First Division title; Liverpool retain the European Cup; Pete Rose gets his 3,000th major league hit.
  • New Zealand beat England in a Test Match for the first time after 48 years of competitive cricket between the two countries; Ian Botham returns his career best Test bowling figures of 8-34; David Gower and Kapil Dev make their Test debuts.

Guess VintageTechnologyTechnology

  • Louise Brown, the first test tube baby, is born.
  • The first Bulletin Board is created in Chicago; the first cellular mobile phone service is launched.
  • Willi Messerschmitt, the German aircraft designer, died in this year.
  • The Vickers Viscount becomes the first turboprop airliner to be in service for 25 years.
  • Boeing begins development of the 767.
  • The first transatlantic crossing by balloon is completed. The first flight of a solar powered aircraft takes place.
  • HMS Ark Royal retires, leaving the Royal Navy without an aircraft carrier for the first time since 1918.
  • US Army Sergeant Walter Robinson walks across the English Channel in 11 hours 30 minutes using homemade water shoes.
  • The Russian space station Salyut 6 is in operation and has several rotations of operators cycle through, including Russian, Czech, Polish and German cosmonauts.
  • Sweden bans aerosol sprays following evidence that they damage the ozone layer.

Guess Vintage FashionEntertainment

  • Coming Home wins the Oscar for best film; Jane Fonda and Jon Voight win the awards for best actress and actor. The top grossing film this year is Grease.
  • Roman Polanski flees from the US to France to avoid imprisonment for offences against children.
  • Gerry Rafferty releases the album City to City; Jeff Wayne releases the album War of the Worlds; Blondie releases Parallel Lines; the Blues Brothers release their first album; the Police appear in a Wrigley chewing gum advert.
  • The best selling singles of the year were Night Fever by the Bee Gees and Rivers of Babylon by Boney M.
  • The first series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was broadcast on BBC Radio.
  • TV shows debuting in this year included Taxi, Mork & Mindy, Battlestar Galactica, Dallas, Top Gear, Blake's 7, The South Bank Show. TV shows ending included The Six Million Dollar Man, Columbo, Opportunity Knocks, The Good Life, Z-Cars, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, The Sweeney.
  • The first Garfield cartoon strip is published.


  • Australia ceases commercial whaling on the 21st November; the last whale caught by an Australian whaling ship was caught the previous day.
  • The Amoco Cadiz runs aground off the coast of Brittany, causing the worst man-made ecological disaster for many years to come.

Guess Vintage AdvertisementPolitics

  • France, Belgium and the US take joint action to defeat an insurgency in Zaire.
  • PW Botha becomes the Prime Minister of South Africa. South Africa becomes a nuclear power.
  • The Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt is signed. Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin win the Nobel Peace Prize. Japan and China sign the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
  • Skateboarding is made illegal in Norway.
  • Britain is ruled by a Queen; Mayday becomes a UK public holiday for the first time.
  • The Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Dominica become independent nations.
  • The Pope dies after 33 days in office.
  • Homebrewing of beer becomes legal in the US.
  • Spain officially ends 40 years of military dictatorship.

Think you know the Vintage year?  Look here for the Guess The Vintage Answer sheet.