Opimian wine [121BC vintage, from the name of the consul of that year] was perfectly drinkable in post-Caligulaic, Nero's times, and was served to Trimalchio in his feast [see Petronius' "Satyricon"]. Tom Standage ought to read more and imbibe less.
I think he's also wrong claiming that Romans were the first to use wine as some kind of social yardstick; the Greeks did it, too. It's hard to see how it could be any other way. The best of any commodity that's in short supply and high demand (never mind wine) will go to the wealthiest people.