Climate Change and Wine
The Washington Post ran an article today (6/7) written by Dave McIntyre entitled "Climate change is reshaping wine as we know it." In the article he quotes Elizabeth Wolkovich, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, saying that "wine is a bellwether of climate change" and that our understanding of terroir is in transition with consequences yet to be determined. McIntyre refers to Allan Sichel of the Bordeaux Wine Council who stated that "Bordeaux is preparing for the future, but we are aware we need to act now and that we may need to change everything we do."
Winegrowers are beginning "to tinker with the classic bordeaux blend of grape varieties."
The initial focus is on the merlot varietal because it is an early ripening grape and warmer temperatures mean risks of higher sugars leading to increased alcohol levels. The trend seems to be increase the percentage of petit verdot or adding more cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc and less merlot. There is even talk about approving additional grape varietals that could be allowed in the blend and still be labeled as bordeaux. Stay tuned.