What is the future’s wine? It is quite simple; it is the climate change’s wine. Indeed, we can already feel the global warming changes in the wine sector and other transformations are coming…
What are the consequences of the global warming on the vine?
We can already notice some changes on the vineyards due to rising temperatures. Indeed, the grape ripen much faster now, which means the grape harvests take place earlier each year (end of august vs end of September in France); which is the proof that the vine and its grapes evolve due to the climate change.
The map of vineyards
All these changes will cause (if it is not the case yet) a territory modification; vines will migrate elsewhere and grow in coldest and at altitude areas in order to keep producing exquisite juice. Thus, the map of vineyards will change. The United Kingdom and the Nordic countries for example, will soon enjoy the climate change and will produce good wines thanks to a climate more suitable for them.
Will we keep the same grape varieties?
Well, grape varieties will evolve too. Very soon, we will have to find varieties more resistant to high heat and drought. Just like the vineyards, grape varieties will probably migrate too… Imagine the Bordeaux vineyard without Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot but instead with Syrah and Grenache. Traditions will change for sure; a wine from Burgundy will not be produced with Pinot Noir but maybe with a grape variety from another region, which will be in the future more appropriate to the terroir and climate. You can imagine all the possibilities…
Will the work on the vine be the same?
The big question is: will we irrigate the vine? In France, you probably know that it is forbidden to water the vine, in order to favour the quality and not the quantity. However, IF temperatures keep rising, can we remedy this problem?
What are the consequences of the global warming on the wine?
Obviously, the taste of the wine will be impacted sooner or later. Alcohol level, new grapes varieties, you should prepare your taste bud…
What is the link between the sun and the alcohol?
This is something you have probably noticed, high alcohol content wines around 15% are more and more frequent and the one to blame is the sun.
Wines will be more or less high in alcohol, depending the sun’s duration on the vines. The sugar content in the grape is due to the sun. In consequence, the more the sun, the sweeter will be the grapes; and it is the sugar that become alcohol during the fermentation. Thus, more sun means more sugar; and more sugar means higher alcohol level.
What about the grape varieties?
As it is said above, grape varieties will probably migrate to blossom in other territories that are more suitable. If temperatures keep rising, the grape varieties will have more and more difficulties to produce good juice in their native region.
Then, wine producers will have to think about to plant new varieties, which will be in the future fitting the ground and the new climate.
To find new varieties, it will be interesting to revive forgotten varieties, endangered autochthon varieties. Surely, the wine we are used to drink will change, the taste will be different, even more if it is produced with unknown varieties.
What are the difficulties to adapt to climate change?
Obviously, this is not something apparent to anticipate the changes due to global warming. One of the big problematic today is the bill of specifications. To be considered as an appellation, it is necessary to carry the bill of specifications out to the letter. Consequently, if a wine estate, already wants to start experiences with new grape varieties or to plant vines on areas in altitude in order to anticipate the changes, it will not get the appellation, and will have to sell its wine as country wine, which is less prestigious in view of the consumers.
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