Time: Climate Change is a Threat to Expensive French Wine

Merlot wine grapes. CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Bordeaux winegrowers are experimenting with new grape varieties to prepare for a time when Merlot grapes will no longer produce the right flavour due to climate change.

‘The Taste of Bordeaux Is Going to Change.’ Under Threat From Climate Change and Coronavirus, French Winemakers Try Experimenting

BY MÉLISSA GODIN MAY 22, 2020 6:36 AM EDT

In the hills outside of Bordeaux, where lines of vineyards create geometric patterns across the landscape, winemakers have been carefully growing and harvesting a dark blue grape variety for centuries. Merlot, with its soft, velvety plum flavor, is one of the world’s most popular red wines.

But Merlot as we know it is on the verge of extinction. Climate change—which has increased average global temperatures, along with the frequency and severity of droughts, heat waves and other erratic weather patterns—is changing the flavor of French wines. Warmer temperatures cause grapes to ripen faster, resulting in more sugar in the grape. That ultimately affects the alcohol content, acidity level and the color of wine. While scientists do not know how long current varieties of Merlot will be able to last under changing conditions, they have said that Merlot will be the first victim of climate changeamongst grape varieties in the region.

But in Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world, experimental laboratories have emerged, dedicated to finding new flavors of wine that are adaptable to the changing climate. French winemakers are experimenting with vines from other parts of the world, from Italian Sangiovese to Greek Assyrtiko, that can withstand higher temperatures, to see if they can survive in Bordeaux. Their hope is to find a new flavor that can replace the region’s iconic Merlot, which makes up 60% of vineyards in Bordeaux.

“Some wines will not be able to remain,” says Jean-Marc Touzard, the director of l’INRA, a French public research institute focussed on agriculture. “Merlot is struggling in the face of climate change.”

COVID-19 has put further pressure on winemakers. Since the outbreak hit France, wine sales have rapidly declined, wine fairs and festivals have been canceled and exports have been severely affected. In the first two weeks of lockdown, some winemakers have reported a 50-70% loss in revenue. “It’s a catastrophe for our industry,” says Masse, adding that the economic ramifications of COVID-19 will make it difficult for winemakers to plan for climate change. “It affects people’s budget to experiment.” Agricultural unions in France have already estimated a shortfall of roughly 200,000 seasonal migrant workers because of COVID-19, further hampering production. 

Read more: https://time.com/5777459/france-wine-climate-change/

How could we all have gotten it so wrong for all this time? It is now clear we have to shut down Western Civilisation so rich people can continue to enjoy the French wine flavours they are accustomed to. Buying wine made from Merlot grapes grown a few hundred miles North of current growing regions just wouldn’t be the same.

103 thoughts on “Time: Climate Change is a Threat to Expensive French Wine

    • Yes indeed. Beaune, or more specifically Vosne-Romanée, is the wine capital of the world.

      Merlot’s been struggling ….. ha ha ha, since the movie Sideways was made.

        • LOL. OK, no merlot.

          ‘The Taste of Bordeaux Is Going to Change.’ Ha , it changed a long time ago.

          Bordeaux has mostly been garbage for the last 20y, still living of a name. Mostly popular with the English.

          The AOC rules for Bordeaux only require 30% of locally produced grapes, most of it is shipped in from other regions. Virtually all Bordeaux now has an “N” on the top of the bottle which signals that it is produced by a “negociant” : a wine blender and trader, not made by the vineyard which grows the grapes ( that is R for racoltant ) . Usually mediocre wine.

          • Yeah, I have no idea why they changed the name to “claret”, but I’m sure I could hazard a guess.

            At the risk of an electron-lashing from Zoe, Pinot noir has been absolutely sh!t for at least 10 years too, other than the super expensive ones.

            There’s a back-story to that clip too, if you’re inclined to hear it. Funnier than the clip itself, but a major spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie.

          • I will not electron-lash you, Phil. lol

            I will just say that of all the red wine I had, Pinot Noir gives me the least head aches afterward.

            I can’t stand sweetness or bold ess.

            Any $10 dollar Pinot Noir will do.

            Honestly, men have fed me expensive wines, and I hardly notice the difference after 3 sips.

            The first taste of expensive Pinot Noir is indeed pleasant.

        • The author of the novel upon which the movie was based considered moving to Chile. Dunno if he did or not, but did write “Sideways 3 Chile”.

    • “It is not only sociopolitical regions that ‘breathe’. Biophysical regions also
      expand and contract. In a 1993 article, Crumley examined environmental proxy
      data to trace the movements of Europe’s three major climatic regimes—Atlantic,
      Continental, and Mediterranean—over two millennia. As shown in Figure 3.2, she
      found that the ecotones between these three regimes varied markedly throughout
      the period. A warm, stable period, the so-called ‘Roman Climate Optimum
      (RCO)’, began at about 300 bc and lasted until around 300 ad. In an ideal demonstration of the intimate connection between climate and human activity,
      the RCO likely pushed prime agricultural land as far north as the Baltic Coast and
      the shores of Britain. Not surprisingly, this is the period of Roman expansion out
      of the Mediterranean Basin. When cooler and more variable weather returned to
      dominance after 300 ad, the Romans in the Western Empire fell back southward,
      making way for (or being pushed by) populations whose means of production
      were better suited to the cooler, more temperate Atlantic and Continental regimes. Clearly the breathing of biophysical regions has an impact on the size and
      shape of sociopolitical regions” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283775451_Historical_Ecology

    • My Gawd😂😂😂!!!! Looks like no more Petrus for all of you!

      What is this world coming to?!?

  1. I mostly drink Australian wine from cardboard casks. I can’t persuade myself to worry too much about French wine.

    • There are plenty of vigneron types panicking in Australia about grape quality being affected by climate change, according to the ABC. The subtle blackcurrant and mulberry overtones of your cask wine may be forever altered.

      • It is more than 50 years since gas chromatography and then GC-MS appeared in every industrial chemist’s lab. Plenty of time to discover the various esters , ketones, etc that characterise different wine flavours and grape varieties. Just add what is lacking from off the chemist’s shelf . Problem over.

        • Since I’m an organic chemist, allegedly, what does the mass spec profile of essence of cardboard look like. Just asking for a friend.

        • It’s more complicated because of all the interactions of various components along with their concentrations. Plus a lot of important species cannot be eluted by GC, so LC-MS is needed for the analysis of those non-volatile components.

          What you propose is more easily applied to distillates and some very fine whiskeys are being perfected by it.

          • I love the concept of a “cardboard cask”, some skillful marketing going on there.

            Sounds even better in French : ” eleve en fut de carton”.

          • Oh Jesus, I used and embedded K-word, lets try again.

            I love the concept of a “cardboard cask”, some ski11ful marketing going on there.

            Sounds even better in French : ” eleve en fut de carton”.

    • Just read an article on Friday, some wineries are moving to wine in a can. Said cans are cheaper than cardboard and a slim can is 6.5oz (185ml)which makes the perfect serving size, convenient isn’t it? Even more convenient a 4 pack is equal to a bottle. Now that’s a marketers dream right there!

      Article was about dearmomwine.com

      For myself, I don’t drink wine. Just a couple sips gives me a nasty headache that takes hours to go away. I only read the article because they are a customer of my company.

  2. It’s a good job nobody’s tried to grow wine grapes here in Australia where it’s much warmer.

    Oh, wait…

    • Nor across the ditch (the moat?) here in New Zealand where, with a similar latitude to Bordeaux, it’s a little less cooler than Aus, ie, more reminiscent of southern France.

      However, thanks to [AGW/CCC/CO2/ENSO] nature’s whim, our 2020 vintage was one of the best due to calm, dry, warm sunny days, with very little rain, and not one cyclone. Farmers and alarmists were crying ‘Drought!’ yet grape growers – and most of the population – were lapping up the sunshine, enjoying the return to the weather of ‘the good old days’, for those of us old enough to remember.

      N.B. Then the Crock-o-virus hit, right at the peak of harvest, closing vineyards & restaurants & travel/tour companies, including the one I drove for. So-called ‘bubbles’ of vineyard staff were allowed to continue picking, while the remaining economies became a ghost town under ‘lockdown’. Being a hardy, adaptive bunch, vintners went online to promote & push their product, keeping their businesses alive. Two months later, on Panic Level 2, it is now legal to open & operate, and slowly (but slowly) things are returning to the way they (almost) were. Cin cin!

      https://www.waiheke-winetours.co.nz

  3. Bugger the expensive French Wine – just give me a goon full of reasonable Australian plonk!

    • I prefer Oz wines (particularly McLaren Vales) too.

      Great stuff coming out of Argentina & Chile these days as well.

      Best to blame it all on AGW rather than less advanced wine-making techniques though. Zut alors…

      • And yet:

        Average August temperature, Bordeaux: 20 C.
        Average January temperature, Mendoza: 24 C.

  4. Hugh Johnson has published an annual Wine Guide for 43 years.
    Pomerol/ St.Emilion is the home of Merlot in the Bordeaux region, the best wine districts in the world for the variety.
    If Merlot is “under threat” from climate change it has not been evident in the last 2 decades.
    They have been an enormously happy period for Bordeaux wines as rising prices attest.
    For the best wines e.g. Petrus in Pomerol and Cheval Blanc and Ausone in St.Emilion, here are the rankings out of 10 for the last 19 years-
    2000- 9
    2001-8
    2002- 8
    2003-( The year of the heatwave in France)- 8
    2004- 9
    2005- 9
    2006- 8
    2007- 7
    2008- 9
    2009- 10
    2010- 10
    2011- 8
    2012-8
    2013-7
    2014-8
    2015-10
    2016- 9
    2017-7
    2018-9.
    Nature has always forced changes on winemakers with frost, flood and drought ( mainly drought) pushing them this way and that.
    However even in 2003, the year that alarmists advanced in Europe as one of the “human finger prints” of man made global warming, some great wines were made even when the August temperatures in Bordeaux were ~ 40 degrees Celsius against a usual ~32 degrees.
    A few tenths of a degree Celsius won’t see the demise of Merlot.

    • Not so fast Phillip. The “late” frost that burnt my early potatoes in Buckinghamshire last week also wiped out a substantial part of the English grape crop. Doesn’t appear on the BBC website so far as I can find.

      https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/05/uk-vineyards-grapple-with-late-frost/

      Staff at UK vineyards were working around the clock last week as wine producers saw some of the latest frost ever experienced, with one vineyard suffering damage for the first time in 46 years.

      It is one of several vineyards in the UK that experienced between 90 and 100% frost damage, according to a survey conducted by English wine specialist Stephen Skelton MW.

      A total of 181 frosts were reported at vineyards from North Yorkshire to Cornwall, according to Skelton’s survey, which mapped the frost across the UK.

      72 vineyards reported 0-10% damage to vines, however 61 reported losses ranging from 50% to 100%.

      Minimum temperatures experienced last week ranged from -0.5°C to -5.5°C, Skelton’s survey found

    • English wine was best in Europe during the Medieval Warm Period.

      Too bad if cooling strikes the Misty Isles again just as their wine industry is getting going again during the Modern WP.

  5. 22 May: Conservative Review: The CDC confirms remarkably low coronavirus death rate. Where is the media?
    by Daniel Horowitz
    Most people are more likely to wind up six feet under because of almost anything else under the sun other than COVID-19.
    The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it (LINK) a month ago.

    Until now, we have been ridiculed for thinking the death rate was that low, as opposed to the 3.4% estimate of the World Health Organization, which helped drive the panic and the lockdowns. Now the CDC is agreeing to the lower rate in plain ink.

    Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected (LINK)…

    More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000…

    We destroyed our entire country and suspended democracy all for a lie, and these people perpetrated the unscientific degree of panic. Will they ever admit the grave consequences of their error?
    https://www.conservativereview.com/news/horowitz-cdc-confirms-remarkably-low-coronavirus-death-rate-media/

    Last revised 20 May: CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

  6. This is another self-fulfilling prophecy. Fears about the FUTURE effect of climate change on grape varieties came to prominence in 2008. The fears were based on projections of changes which subsequently proved to be entirely wrong, but the fears did spawn a number of genuine research initiatives to examine the relative sensitivity of different varieties to different types of change in the weather. The main concern was about (projected) prolonged hot periods of drought.
    In 2015, Yves Leers, a journalist and self-styled activist in climate change and sustainable development, wrote a book called “Menace sur le vin” (Threat to Wine), which has sourced several articles on this subject, including, I suspect, the one quoted above.
    The reality is somewhat different. In the Bordeaux region, in the last 10 years, 2010, 2011 and 2014 were relatively dry. The remaining years were all close to or above the 30 year average.
    However, one of the best measures of a wine-growing region is the number of vintage years it has in any given period. Here is the list of the top five vintage years (Bordeaux LEFT BANK) in ranked order from the last 40 years – 2009, 2016, 2018, 2010, 2015. Here is the list of the top five vintage Bordeaux years (RIGHT BANK) in ranked order from the last 40 years – 2009, 2015, 2018, 2010, 2005. (These lists were compiled before the 2019 vintage was in. It is likely that the excellent 2019 vintage will displace one of these years.)

    In summary, there is no evidence whatsoever of any climate problems affecting Bordeaux wines – quite the contrary. There are only four things which make Bordeaux winegrowers quake at the knees:- hail at any time, spring frost, mildew and more regulations.

  7. The truth of the matter is that it is only in the last few years that bordeaux has actually been producing riper and drinkable wines. The stuff that come before was like thin acid green muck. Bring on warming if it produces drinkable wine but then i am not a connosewer. and as many say the Aussie or South African reds are superb, the english sparkling wine excellent and NZ white

    • “…thin acid green muck.”
      Yeah, that’s what happens when your wife decants the antifreeze into an empty wine bottle without telling you.
      I suspect from your comment that you have not yet had the exquisite pleasure of tasting the velvet smoothness of a wine with structure from a good vintage year, put down and kept with love and tender care, and shared in candlelight with a woman who walks in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies. Glugging Aussie red doesn’t quite cut it.

      O for a beaker full of the warm South,
      Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
      With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
      And purple-stained mouth;
      That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
      And with thee fade away into the forest dim.

      • Keats died of TB, aged 25, as had his mother and uncle. While still at school, his dad was killed in a riding accident. His mom was ripped off by her second husband, then abandoned the family. By 18, the London lad needed a drink.

        • OK, he was 23 or 24 when he wrote “Ode to a Nightingale”, but he took to drink earlier.

          By contrast, his fellow English Romantic poet survived to 80.

          • Hi John,
            I didn’t know that Keats had such a short life. The other English romantic poet I quoted above was Lord Byron (“She walks in beauty like the night …) who died at age 36 after some very hard living. Percy Bysshe Shelley was drowned at age 29. It wasn’t a good time to be providing life insurance business to romantic poets. Who are you thinking of as his fellow English romantic? Browning? Tennyson?

  8. Those clowns should stop spouting nonsense. Hot summers or heat waves do not weaken the vines, conversely, they often give rise to excellent vintages.

    The actual threat for the wine in the Bordelais (and other wine French regions) are cold snaps :
    https://www.bordeaux.com/fr/Bordeaux-Magazine/Journal/News/Le-gel-de-printemps

    This is also true for olive trees in Italy :
    https://www.teatronaturale.it/strettamente-tecnico/l-arca-olearia/25685-freddo-neve-e-gelicidio-quanti-danni-all-olivo.htm

    Vines or olive trees “weakened by heat waves” which then do not support -10°C or -15°C cold snaps ? Seriously ?
    – Any such cold snap is a threat to vines or olive trees. Precedent summers’ heat waves have nothing to do with it.

  9. It’s interesting that just below the main blog post is an article published in Nature Climate Change in March 2016 where apparently NASA had said that climate change could lead to better quality wine because of earlier harvests.
    IIRC most of the increase in average temperatures has been attributed to higher minimum temperatures and that maximum temperatures have stayed relatively stable. Also IIRC much of the increase in global average temperature has been in the higher latitudes. Maybe they should set up some vineyards in Svalbard?
    Cold seems to be more important in vineyards, as demonstrated by the frosts we have experienced in the UK over the last week have caused considerable damage to the vines which is unlikely to be made up by secondary growth.

    • A thought, maybe they could try the Carmenere grape which is grown successfully in Chile and produces good wines, and apparently is a close relative of Merlot.

      • Carmenere used to be a very common grape variety in the Bordeaux region, notably Medoc, but it was all killed off by the Phyloxera which destroyed many vineyards in Europe around 1867. It is sometimes called “the lost grape of Bordeaux”.

        Most European winegrowers did not know that it had been exported to Chile around 1850 where it had flourished. (Chile did not get hit by Phyloxera.) One reason for this was that the Chileans thought it was actually a Merlot which they had imported!

        Back in 1994, a couple of French winegrowers “rediscovered” Carmenere in Chile. This was very good for Chile, who immediately started marketing their new Carmenere wine. And the French winegrowers association sent a small delegation to Chile to negotiate its return to France.

        According to the story I heard in South America, the delegation found themselves in an unexpectedly beautiful country with extremely generous hosts who loved to party. They could not come to closure on terms with their hosts (wink, wink), which meant that they had to return the following year to continue the negotiation and the party. They did so, but this time with a much larger delegation. This continued for many years until it became a standard fixture each year, with the lucky members of the French party eventually growing to almost hundred people each year. Sadly for the party lovers, the French winegrowers association eventually drew a line, and threatened with withdrawal of funding, the French delegation reluctantly reached an agreement. The above story is true even if it never happened.

        So now the Carmenere grape is again grown in the Bordeaux region, but last year was the first year that I have actually seen Carmenere from a French vineyard arriving in French supermarkets.

      • Many years ago my intended ( a keen skier when at Uni in Edingburgh) and I noticed an ad for a film about skiing to be shown in a small Chelsea (London) cinema . It was called “downhill racer ” and featured an unknown actor called Robert Redford. As we queued up a voice from behind us said , in an accent only acquired by 15 years at a select Girl’s school in Surrey:
        “had a very nice white wine last night – but you won’t guess where it came from : Chile!”
        “Extraordinary” said , or rather drawled her companion ” Er where’s Chile” (clearly also a product of a posh private school )
        “No idea – somewhere near the South Pole I think “

      • It’s already there – it came from Bordeaux – not widely planted but still used in many Medoc vineyards in small quantities

        • Hi John,
          I have enjoyed many a bottle of Concha y Toro. Your pdf was created in 2004 and is now out of date in claiming that the grape is exclusive to Chile. The grape is now being cultivated in France again. See my note just upthread.

    • I recall a conversation with a local wine producer a couple of years back at our Cowpie show about damage caused by recent frosts and he mentioned that there would be a secondary growth but it is never as good as the primary. The show was obviously cancelled this year and would actually have been two ago so before the recent frosts that have caused some damage to a variety of plants and trees in my garden.

  10. Right, listen up.
    We have an opportunity to secure grant support to investigate these rising temperatures due to climate change, specifically the impact it is having on wine taste and quality.
    The research I wish to undertake will involve long periods away from home in sunny places across the world. Specifically time in Bordeaux France, California USA, South Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Italy, Lebanon, Greece, Spain, Israel, and a few others along the way.
    I think a grant of say £1million/yr for maybe ten years should do it…..😊

    • What about California, Oregon and Washington State?

      Dunno about last year, but 2018 set a world record for wine production. Top three countries were Italy, France and Spain, with 51% of total. USA was fourth, followed by Argentina, Chile, Australia, Germany, South Africa and China. So Europe is still the global mainstay, followed by the Americas, with Africa and Asia still lagging but growing.

      Will see what effect if any the ChiCom virus has had on production. My consumption of Chilean Carmenere is up, which I prefer to the Cab Sauv and Pinot Noir of my native PNW region. I buy it in 1.5 L. bottles two blocks away for under three bucks.

      When people ask why I don’t take vitamin C supplements with my vitamin D and zinc pills, I point to the dead soldiers of various labels. Combined with blueberry juice for breakfast.

  11. OK, I’ve lived in the Bordeaux region for 20 years. I’ve seen +41°C down to -19°C. One week when the temperature did not get above -3°C. I’ve seen many severe hail storms, rain storms and tempêtes. We have had late frost (may 2018) very recently but the grapes and potato always fight back.
    I’ve drunk the wine, mostly Merlot from the Languedoc Roussillon. It started at 1.30€ /litre and is now 2.90€ to 3.40€ depending on the vignoble. Incidently, Bordeaux red was available at 0.64cents in 2002, about £1 a litre. Initially, a lot of the Merlot came from the vignoble near Bordeaux but the departemental council of the Languedoc put in place a plan to raise the quality of the wine coming from the L-R.
    The government has been paying vignobles to rip out their vines when they retire and many have chosen this route because it guarantees a pension for comfortable living.

  12. “French winemakers are experimenting with vines from other parts of the world, from Italian Sangiovese to Greek Assyrtiko, that can withstand higher temperatures, to see if they can survive in Bordeaux”

    The author should first decide what the issue is. Is it high sugar or is it survival? High sugar, by the way, means that the vine is doing very well but a little too well for our taste. So to begin by saying that warming causes high sugar and then to propose changing vines to a variety that can survive is a contradiction.

    PS
    I actually spent a summer there working in a winery during crush and learning how to make wine. In that experience I also learned to admire the french almost to a point of worship in their knowledge, intelligence, and extreme care and precision in everything they do.

    And yet here I find this goofball whining about climate change but can’t remember why exactly.

  13. Time: Climate Change is a Threat to Expensive French Wine

    Climate Change? Time really needs to get up to speed, it’s “The Climate Crisis” in these modern times.

    Besides that, a threat to wine? How boring, in the good old days global warming caused brain fungus, ingrown toenails and unwanted pregnancies.

  14. Funnily the English upper classes, and only they, call Bordeaux wines ‘Claret’. Anyone familiar with 007 knows that. What is not clear however is why?

    Climate change crushes claret? I don’t think so.

    • From the french word Clairette – meaning pale or light – to distinguish it from Port which was darker.

  15. Poor France for poorer wine, if global warming occurs over the next hundred years (which I doubt).

    There will be winers and losers with global warming. Britain wine industry may flourish. Newfoundland may change it’s name back to Vinland. This may provide entrepreneurial opportunities for our grandchildren to plant vineyards in new places.

  16. A lot of those Bordeaux vineyards are owned by the Chinese.

    Now we have, Chateau Tibetan Antelope, Chateau Imperial Rabbit, Chateau Golden Rabbit, Chateau Great Antelope.

    ….I kid you not.

  17. Here in Argentina the award-winning wine production extends north and south for 1,200 km (800 miles), from southern Salta Province to northern Neuquen Province. I live in the middle of this range, in Mendoza, where the best wines are produced. Wine grape growers look at growing season like all other agricultural industries, and harvest the particular grapes when they are at the correct sugar level, so hotter climate-harvest a little earlier. Stay sane and safe (red wine has resviratrol which, imagine my luck, turns out to be good for you).

  18. LOL! The taste of wine produced by the same vineyards changes from year to year already! That is why they have vintages!

  19. Ex-California wino raised within sight of Paul Masson’s first factory, but drinking Ed Gillick’s finest red ~$1 a gallon. Done chasing ever more refined tasting wine. My house wine is Chilean Pinot Noir 3L box by Corbett Canyon. My gift wine is a Pinot Noir Central Coast by 10-Span.

    I wondered about being too familiar with by box wine until CoViD-19 lockdown made me drink my gifted wine supply, “Oh, these are too nice to drink, I’ll save them for guests.”. What utter crap were most of them.

    • California (~7% world) still produces more wine than either Chile or Argentina, but less than both together (~9%).

  20. Plain b*s*it!

    The orginal paper ignores the History of French wine production, namelly:
    1. The crisis that was growing by the 1960s and 1970s due to the irregular quality of the wines of each region (due to lack of application of good agronomic technology in viticulture) which was intensified by the growing income of the middle class, which became more demanding of the stability and reliability of the products they consume (thus the origin of the VQPRD classification).

    2. The changes toward homogenization of the technology of production brought about by the European “rules” in the decade 1970, which were deployed roughly unil 1990.

    3. The changes (again towards a standardization of the products) brought about by French legislator (“réforme de filière viti-vinicole française”) in 2004.

    Pleas mark these key dates on the graphs of the original paper and you will undestand what was the “climate change” about.

  21. Merlot is more commonly grown north of Bordeaux and is quite obnoxious on its own, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is more heavily used in the Bordeaux region and produces the ‘gran cru’ of Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Latour etc.

    In fact, Chateau Latour is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot. Merlot is used just as a filler and balance to the flavours. With all the grape varieties some harvests are better than others and the cooperative will produce mixes according to the crop.

    The Merlot based St Emilions are cheaper wines, the best wines are Cabernet Sauvignon based.

    • I think Petrus, which has a lot of merlot, holds its own against other first growths, as does Chateau Cheval Blanc, a St Emillion that has a lot of Cabernet Franc.

  22. Climate Change is a Threat to Expensive French Wine
    =========
    So now we have 2 things not affected by climate change. Cockroaches and cheap French wine.

  23. The biggest threat to expensive French wines is forgery,
    In some cases for a particular wine for a particular year, more cases are being offered than were actually produced.
    In a particular case , a wine was being auctioned in a bottle size that was no produced for that year.
    One of the Koch brothers, who has a huge cellar, was ripped off by this.

  24. The real threat to French wines (and more seriously French Cognac) is the eventual Islamic takeover because of open borders. Muslims will burn the vineyards. Real warming.

  25. Cheaper American wine actually tastes better anyway. (<- Not sarcasm)

    Think of all the CO2 saved by buying local wine rather than shipping French wine all the way to America. We should add a carbon tax to French wines. (<- Sarcasm)

  26. As I have aged and consumed less beef, my taste in red wine has transitioned from Cabernet to Pinot Noir. Though the gold standard for these beautiful wines is Burgundy, California and Oregon both produce wonderful versions of this grape and high quality can be found at a reasonable price. My favorites come from Sonoma County and the central coast of CA. I find most merlot uninteresting, though there are exceptions such as Petrus.

  27. Wine grapes grow on the west coast of North America from the Baja in Mexico through the state of Washington and on into British Columbia. Some of my so called environmentalists friends warn me that soon it will be to warm for wine grapes.
    Otherwise intelligent people often believe some of the most ridiculous things.

    • Just to add to what Tom K wrote:
      Washington State’s wine grapes are interior relative to the Cascade Mountains; roughly 200 miles from the actual coast. Eastern Washington residents often say “going to the coast” when they mean to the Seattle area.

      High temperatures are often handled with misting – a fine spray of water not intended for irrigation. Also done in California.
      France generally does not approve of irrigation as commonly practiced elsewhere. I don’t know if they “mist”, but it is easy to do.
      Winter cold is prepared for by withholding late summer irrigation so the vines “harden off.”

  28. The problem with French wine is not the climate. It is the hidebound French wine makers who simply will not adopt scientifically validated methods of growing grapes and making wine.

    –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)

    “The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgment of Paris, was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). A Californian wine rated best in each category, which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world’s best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win. The event’s informal name “Judgment of Paris” is an allusion to the ancient Greek myth.”

    “30th anniversary

    “A 30th anniversary re-tasting on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was organized by Steven Spurrier in 2006. As The Times reported “Despite the French tasters, many of whom had taken part in the original tasting, ‘expecting the downfall’ of the American vineyards, they had to admit that the harmony of the Californian cabernets had beaten them again. … The results showed that additional panels of experts again preferred the California wines over their French competitors.”

  29. As long as Canadian plonk improves, who cares? I like wally mart’s 2/750ml bottles of Oakleaf for $5 in Florida.

  30. From the article: “But Merlot as we know it is on the verge of extinction. Climate change—which has increased average global temperatures, along with the frequency and severity of droughts, heat waves and other erratic weather patterns—is changing the flavor of French wines.”

    Well, average global temperatures have increased very little (tenths of a degree), and there is no evidence for increased fequency or severity of droughts, heat waves, and other erratic weather patterns, so has the taste of Merlot really changed, or is that just another figment of the imagination, like human-caused climate change?

    • Framing the question as they do helps get grant money.
      The ‘plus’ is they get to visit and taste some very fine wine.
      What’s not to like?

    • Now THAT’S what I call ‘runaway’ temperatures – go on, run away, off with ya now, goodbye! Brrr…

      Two points re your ‘weatherzombie’ link, G Minor: on their homepage, it has the coldest place for Thur 21 May as Frederick Rf (reef?) in Queensland on -17.0°C. Yes, that’s minus 17 degrees! In the Coral Sea no less. Hmmm…

      Plus there’s a link to an article today about a doctor/lecturer in the Northern Territory, Simon Quilty, claiming climate-related deaths are going unrecorded. Apparently, if you wander out into the desert unprepared, sumpthink (sic) called ‘climate change’ is gonna getcha! I’m guessing doctors aren’t taught much about history, nor outback explorers, when they’re learning how to distinguish between a stethoscope and a microscope.

  31. There’s a French winemaker who grows wine on a tropical atoll.

    Vin de Tahiti

    He gets two vintages per year! I think that shows how silly this concern is.

  32. Yawn! So it’s clear that grapes only appeared after WWI and have never had to deal with the always changing climate of earth. Really you can’t fix stupid, or corrupt.

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