The taste of Bordeaux will change. ‘Under the threat of climate change and coronavirus, French Winemakers Experiment

The taste of Bordeaux will change. ‘Under the threat of climate change and coronavirus, French Winemakers Experiment

In the hills outside Bordeaux, where the lines created by vineyards in the countryside patterned, winemakers have carefully grown and a crop of dark blue grapes for centuries. Merlot, velvety, with its soft, plum flavor, is one of the most popular red wines in the world. But the Merlot, as we know it is on the brink of extinction. Climate change, global average temperatures, along with the frequency and severity of droughts, heat waves and other weather conditions increase model changes the taste of French wines. Warmer temperatures cause the grapes ripen more quickly, leading to more sugar in the grapes. This ultimately affects the alcohol content, acidity and color of the wine. While scientists do not know what the current time Merlot can maintain under varying conditions, they said that Merlot will be the first victims of climate change in the wine-growing region. But in Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world experimental laboratories have sprung up, dedicated to the research of new flavors of wine that can be adapted to climate change. French wine producers are experimenting with screws from other parts of the world, from Italian Sangiovese Greek Assyrtiko, higher temperatures can withstand to see if they are able to survive in Bordeaux. Their hope is to find a new flavor that can replace iconic Merlot in the region, which constitutes 60% of the Bordeaux vineyards. “Some wines are not be possible,” Jean-Marc TOUZARD, director of INRA, a French public research institute says focused on agriculture. “Merlot is struggling in the face of climate change.” French wines account for 16% of the wines produced around the world and the country is internationally the largest consumer of wine. The industry currently brings 7.6 billion Euros in exports and employs more than half a million people. “Many jobs are involved. It creates and maintains an economy of tourism,” says TOUZARD. Every year, 24 million foreigners visiting the wine regions of France. Bordeaux has a long history of making do with a less than ideal environment viticulture. As Hugh Johnson writes era: The history of wine “Bordeaux has never been a good wine region, it has been equipped with a climate and vegetation suitable It is a great wine region is because he was trying to be.” But climate change is called for a new level of effort by growers. “The taste of French wines is more alcoholic, less acid and less aromatic,” says Agnès dEstrac-Irvine, coordination of VitAdapt program that monitors experiments with new varieties of climate change. But he adds: “The question is not how to change French wines climate change, the question is how was it?” Since 1980, the harvest in Bordeaux has been occurring earlier and earlier, leading to many French wines with higher alcohol content than before. But in some French regions, rising temperatures welcomed. Regions such as Champagne and Alsace in northern France have collected the hottest temperatures benefits; Winzer reported from 2017 drought, the quantity of mold fell to their vines. But it should grow at temperatures of about 2 ° -4 ° C, French wine producers around the country know that all the advantages rising temperatures are temporary. to stay alive, they must adapt. Several organizations are on the case, often with financial support from local and national authorities. The Laccave project, for example, leading experts from colleges and universities across the country both dimensions, such as climate change affects vineyards and adjust options to explore. The Science of the Vine and Wine Institute (ISVV) explores the different types of grapes to see how to cope with different temperatures and disease. Available while some new varieties already on the market, many are still in the research phase. Because it takes many years for the vines to grow, moving slowly research. “It is not like wheat, where you can grow one year and see what happens next,” says French winemakers mass Samuel. Historically, it was not easy for French wine producers are experimenting with different varieties of grapes. The National Agency of Wine, known in French as the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO), strict rule of vines can not and are not grown in the country. But as climate change production of French wine, the designation of authorities has allowed the addition of seven varieties, like last year in July, in an effort to find alternative wines threatened that thrive in warmer France. So far, only six varieties could be used to make wine in Bordeaux. new varieties that grow best suited for warmer temperatures, but addresses only one of the many problems of climate change poses for the wine industry. Since the climate crisis intensified, the weather conditions are likely to become increasingly erratic and unpredictable, not following the rhythm of the seasons. In the spring of 2019 to 5% of the vineyards in Bordeaux it was affected by the frost out of season. Last summer severe drought screws left burnt to a crisp in the southern French region of Hérault. “It is not just warmer temperatures. With climate change, there will be risks frost, drought, fires,” says TOUZARD. “Look at the fires in California and Australia. We do not want the smoking taste in our wines.” Volatile weather patterns have already made an economic toll on the industry of French wine. In 2019 bad weather cut 12% of French wine expenses mainly due to exceptionally hot weather. COVID-19 continued to put pressure on farmers. Since the outbreak hit France have now fallen for wine sales, wine fairs and festivals they were canceled and exports have greatly affected. In the first two weeks of the block, some manufacturers a 50-70% loss are recognized in revenue. “It ‘a disaster for our industry,” says Mass, and added that the economic impact of COVID-19 will make it more difficult for winemakers plan for climate change. “Refers to experience budget folks.” agricultural unions in France a deficit of around 200,000 migrant seasonal workers because COVID-19, further inhibiting the production have already appreciated. However, in France there is much more at stake than money. For many iconic French would lose aromas of the wine to lose a central aspect of French culture. “The wine occupies an important place in French culture,” says TOUZARD. “It binds France to its history.” For many wine producers in Bordeaux, it is to find new varieties to protect the vital culture. “We are all safe, screws remain in Bordeaux for the history and the culture they represent, make mobilized,” says dEstrac-Irvine. “It ‘s the reason that mobilizing researchers, as well as winemakers, farmers.” “We strongly believe in investments with our work, we get this high quality production,” he added. But with climate change, rising temperatures and the frequency of abnormal weather conditions, stress alone may not be sufficient anymore. “There are ways to adapt,” says TOUZARD, but “the taste of Bordeaux will change.”

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