Climate Change Will Ruin Wine Eventually, So You May As Well Drink It All Now
We’ll stop whining about climate change when it stops affecting our wine.
The warming climate is helping vineyards produce better wine. However, producers in Western Europe and beyond may have to move their production elsewhere if they want to stay in business for the long run — and that includes France, new evidence suggests.
Droughts are the reason for this shake-up.
In France and Switzerland, the greatest wines are produced when hot summers and end-of-season droughts follow heavy spring rains. This speeds up the harvest and makes for a better wine.
Droughts are crucial in great wine. Indian summers reduce surface moisture, dry the soil and bring on the harvest. Climate change is pushing harvests further back.
“Now, it’s become so warm thanks to climate change, grape growers don’t need drought to get these very warm temperatures,” said Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
While global warming is currently improving wine, it spells upheaval and disaster in the long term.
“So far, a good year is a hot year,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, an ecologist at Harvard University. “If we keep pushing the heat up, vineyards can’t maintain that forever.”
The study notes a change in harvest in 1980 that advanced two weeks over the 400-year mean in France, where producers have kept records for centuries.