Warm Weather Means Better Wine But With Reservations

Mar 28, 2016 05:20 AM EDT

U.S. Surpasses France To Lead The World In Wine Consumption
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 06: Monica De Abreu tastes a red wine as she decides which wines to purchase to sell at Global Liquors store on June 6, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that for the first time, the U.S. consumed more wine than France in 2010. The French still drink far more wine per capita than Americans, but the United States, which has a much larger population, has more people pouring a glass of wine.
(Photo : (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

Climate reportedly has a notable effect on wine, shaping the character of the wine through the grapes.

According to Telegraph, a grape harvest over a hot year in warm climate can produce good vintage, with initial studies indicating that warm climate could prove beneficial for some wine growing regions, but excessive climate change can be disastrous to the wine maker.

The effects of global warming include hotter climates, which produce over-sweet wine with high alcohol content.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that climate change has "fundamentally altered the climatic drivers of early wine grape harvests in France" by accelerating wine grape maturation. The researchers looked at records dating back 500 years and found that grapes in France are now being harvested earlier than ever. According to the study, the biggest reason for this change is climate change pushing up temperatures in the absence of drought.

According to Academic Wino, before the 1980s, droughts were necessary for early harvests as the vineyards couldn't get hot enough to induce early maturation in the grapes, though now this is not necessary.

Lead author Dr Benjamin Cook said: "Now, it's become so warm thanks to climate change, grape growers don't need drought to get these very warm temperatures.

"After 1980, the drought signal effectively disappears. That means there's been a fundamental shift in the large-scale climate under which other, local factors operate."

But while the conditions needed to get an early harvest have changed, Dr Elizabeth Wolkovich, second author of the study, says we should be wary: "The bad news is that if we keep warming the globe we will reach a tipping point.

The trend, in general, is that earlier harvests lead to higher-quality wine, but you can connect the dots here. We have several data points that tell us there is a threshold we will probably cross in the future where higher temperatures will not produce higher quality."


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