Climate change makes winemakers taste bitter

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Climate change update

When the first signs of the wine harvest problem appeared in April, French Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie described it as “probably the greatest agricultural disaster of the early 21st century.” Since then, it has faced competition.

News that French winemakers will produce this week 29% reduction Due to spring frosts and summer rainfall, this year is more proof of the impact of climate change on the industry than last year. Prior to this, there was a flood in Germany, a hot heat wave in Southern Europe, and a drought in California.

Winemakers who have harvested the same grapes for generations are known for their beliefs Terroir — The almost mysterious quality of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne vineyards. From those special soils, under their own sun angle, miracles appeared.

Tradition and consistency are precious raw materials to produce wines that are respected by drinkers and are strictly supervised by the French government. But even the most conservative growers must adapt now: Either change the way they manage their vineyards, or one day they need to find new vineyards.

The idea of ​​producing Bordeaux elsewhere is unthinkable-it would violate Controlled Appellation of Origin frame Dating back to 1935, it accurately stipulates the method and location of wine production.But some winemakers may one day be forced Change location: Climate warming has turned British sparkling wine into a qualified substitute for champagne.

Many products defined by their source—cheese, meat, fish, and fiber—will face the same dilemma.this Terroir The farmers who surround it not only have established gourmet food, but their lifestyles will also feel the impact of climate change. What happens when the place where you have been rooted is no longer the best place to do what you have been doing?

On holiday in Puglia, on the heels of Italy, I passed countless dead fields Dying olive tree. They are victims Trichoderma fastidious Bacteria instead of climate change (e.g. French wine blight In the 19th century, due to Phylloxera aphid). But their withered, twisted tree trunks feel like a harbinger of other disasters.

In contrast, the changes that affect vineyards are subtle not only in France, but also in wine-producing regions around the world. Warm winters produce buds that are susceptible to spring frost, while hot summers increase the sugar content of grapes—and the alcohol content of wine. The smoke from wildfires gives Australian and California wines a bitter, dark taste.

May have an advantage: a study Suggest Traditionally cooler regions such as Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Loire Valley may benefit from higher temperatures. As southern Europe is under greater pressure due to high temperatures, the area of ​​land suitable for grape cultivation in Austria may double by the 2050s.

But adapting to climate change requires winemakers to be innovative and flexible, and French industry is not known for these qualities. Producers are limited to small areas and cannot simply conduct trials. For example, trials can better deal with mold or late-ripening grape varieties-the rules must first be changed.

“Unlike the French, the new California winemaker has no traditional or handed down wisdom,” wrote George Faber. The trial in Paris, His information about the wine industry in the state and its famous 1976 Blind Tasting“They could not pass on the wine heritage because they did not. As a result, they became experimenters.”

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Their experiment included using stainless steel tanks to keep the juice cool during fermentation, because the West Coast is warmer than Burgundy and tends to produce burnt wines. “This is what makes California so fascinating. The growers are very open-minded and dare to try almost anything,” a wine writer observed in 1974.

To be fair, French winemakers believe that if the vineyard is to remain intact, it must continue to grow.This year, the government Officially recognized Six new “important varieties that adapt to climate change” for Bordeaux and Super Bordeaux production areas.They can be mixed (up to 10%) Grapes, like traditional Merlot, are affected in hot weather.

The French are right to adopt a more stateful attitude, because if these changes are not sufficient, greater destruction will be imminent. They may have to leave the vineyards that are indispensable for production and wine valuation methods. Few people care if their iPhone is made in China or India, but the non-Burgundian “Burgundy” may be more difficult to swallow.

Attribution affects perception: in A studyWhen they were told they were from New Jersey instead of California, the experts’ love for wine diminished.Drinkers are used to associating wine with changing places Terroir Even if this is the only option, it will be full of risks.

Winemakers must do all they can to avoid this situation, including challenging traditions replaced by events. When the alternative is worse, it makes sense to try almost anything.

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