Climate Change May Change The Global Wine Map

Global warming has its markers, such as melting ice caps and rising sea levels. Its impact on the world’s vineyards is another, lesser known issue. And so it’s fitting that the COP21 conference on climate change is currently being held in Paris, and that Tuesday’s topic of discussion was agriculture.

“The vine is indeed a perennial plant that allows scientists to make comparisons from one year to another,” says Herve Quenol, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and a scientist with the International Organization of Vine and Wine. “Also, this plant has well-defined stages of growth that are directly related to temperature, whether it’s budding, flowering, the formation of clusters or, of course, the harvest. The consequences on these stages have been widely visible for several years.”

Quenol is one of two scientists that HuffPost France spoke to in an attempt to disentangle fact from fiction regarding the effects of climate change on the vine. The other was Jean-Marc Touzard, research director at INRA, Europe’s top agricultural research institute, and co-founder of the Laccave project, a long-term research project looking at how vineyards can adapt to global warming. The Laccave project’s findings will be presented in the spring of 2016. In the meantime, here are some answers.

In reality, the entire production chain has been affected
Herve Quenol

The 196 participants at the COP21 summit are trying to agree on provisions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. Such a limit would be ideal for winemakers. “With such a contained increase, northern vineyards will get the best quality production, even if those further south will encounter some difficulties,” Quenol says.

“Our studies show that below this threshold, we have solutions that already exist in most French vineyards, and the consequences can be mitigated,” Touzard confirms. He says —> Read More