Climate change threatens French wine (by globalpost.com)

Posted: January 3, 2013 by wynmaker in Alcohol, Cellars, Europe, Farms, France, Oenology, Research, Vinification, Vintage, Wine, Winemaking, Wineries, World wine news
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Climate change is real!

Climate change is real!

Fluctuating weather and warmer temperatures mean soon you may have to pay more for your favorite Bordeaux — if you can find it.

From rising shorelines to devastating hurricanes, the visible effects scientists say climate change is wreaking on daily life no longer surprise many people around the world.

The French have their own take on just how radically life may change.

“In 20 years, the English will be making Grenache from Chateauneuf-du-Pape,” says Herve Lethielleux, co-owner of L’Etiquette, a wine boutique in central Paris, about a wine variety from subtropical southeastern France.

That’s because the changing climate is affecting the delicate balance of weather, soil and other factors that are central to the production one of their main commodities, something that’s already had a visible effect elsewhere around the globe.

“If you look at Tasmania, it was too cool to grow grapes 25 to 40 years ago,” says Gregory Jones, a research climatologist at Southern Oregon University, about the wine-producing region of Australia. “Today, it’s clearly much more suitable.”

For French winemakers already keenly feeling the effects of growing competition from other countries, higher temperatures in recent years have meant grapes with lower acidity and higher sugar content. That makes for higher alcohol and fruitier — some say cloying — wines.

“As you get older you don’t want those hugely alcoholic fruit bombs,” says Juan Sanchez, owner of Le Derniere Goutte, a wine shop on Paris’s storied Left Bank.

In France, where wine is an important part of social culture, “alcoholic fruit bombs” are also counterintuitive to the typical palate. Usually paired with food, wine is generally intended to enhance rather than overpower. “You almost don’t want to eat with those kinds of wines, they’re like a meal in themselves,” Sanchez explains.
Read on …

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