Global warming is making top French wines better. A study published Monday in the Nature Climate Change journal explains that the usual growth cycles for wine grapes have been condensed and this has caused earlier harvests, a condition linked to higher-quality wine.
But scientists warned that, if the planet keeps warming, wine-makers would eventually be forced to move to other areas and the identity of the worldwide famous wines would be lost.
Benjamin Cook, study co-author and climate scientist with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space studies, told the National Public Radio that earlier harvests result in higher-quality wines.
Wine grapes in France show significant evidence of increasing temperatures because of “terroir,” a mix of environmental factors that favors the production of top wines. These grapes are extremely sensitive to temperature changes and vintners traditionally work around a wet season that is followed by a drought period to mature the fruit. The wine’s terroir is better when the first season is wetter and hotter.
“Climate change means the grapes are maturing faster,” Dr. Elizabeth Wolkovich told the Guardian.
Wolkovich is a scientist from Harvard University and study co-author. Greenhouse gas emissions have led to high temperatures needed for early harvests without drought.
The good times may be over soon
However, scientists warned that the best time for wine-lovers may not last. Wolkovich said temperatures could reach a level that will no longer be suitable for high-quality wine production.
Cook and Wolkovich used meticulous records dating back to 1600 and found harvest dates have moved up by two weeks since 1980, compared to the average for the previous 400 years.
In France, temperatures have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past century.
Source: Discovery News