It’s not just the polar bears losing their homes; rising temperatures across the globe are creating problems for winemakers.
Extreme weather conditions are becoming increasingly detrimental to wine yields. You only need to turn on the news to see devastating wild fires in California and Australia and the hundreds of acres of vines being destroyed in minutes.
Drought, hail and frost can also be disastrous during the growing season. For example, 2021 grape yields in France are anticipated to be at their lowest in 50 years because of devastating Spring frosts. Chardonnay and Merlot the worst affected; grape varieties whose growing season starts early.
In St.Emilion farmers send balloons of helium into the air above their vineyards to convert destructive hail into rain. During harvest or the growing season, hail can cause grapes to split or drop off the vines.
But it’s not all bad…
Kentish Sparkling Wine
Warmer weather in the UK has seen French Champagne houses and Chateau in Bordeaux flirting with UK vineyards, with an eye on investment in the future.
Current estimations suggest that by the year 2100, the UK can expect to be producing some of Europe’s finest wine. Over the coming years we may even see UK producers experimenting with red wine production. The cooler temperatures have previously favoured white acidic wines.
Feeling Hot Hot Hot
With climate change raising temperatures in previously hot and moderate temperate zones, one of the trends of the decade is wines with higher volumes of alcohol. It’s now common to see 14, 14.5 or even 15% wines from South America and Australia.
Warmer and sunnier conditions during the growing season lead to very juicy role grapes that are full of sugar.
As fermentation involves the conversation of sugar (+ yeast) into alcohol, these grapes have more sugar to convert to alcohol.
Wines in Bordeaux are on average 1% higher by volume of alcohol in 2010-2019 than they were in 1990 - 1999.
Shiraz and Malbec
2 grape varieties that thrive in hot climates are Malbec, and Shiraz, known as Syrah in France.
Their thick skins mean they are particularly resistant to the strong rays of the sun
The result is jammy ripe fruit flavoured wines, high in alcohol and body. Perfect with fatty, rich foods.
The Opportunist from South Australian produced Wild & Wilder is a fantastic Shiraz; a thick and smooth mix of fruit, coffee, chocolate and liquorice.
“Tastes like a berry fruit salad dunked in a chocolatey espresso martini ”
Man Meets Mountain is a Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina. It's a classic Argentinian Malbec, punchy, warming and a mouthful of flavour.
“Tastes like a shot of boozy berry pudding”
Check out both in The Cellar now.