Climate change could lead to the complete disappearance of Burgundy wines

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Climate change could lead to the complete disappearance of Burgundy wines
Climate change could lead to the complete disappearance of Burgundy wines

The devastating effects of climate change may be one of the main reasons for the complete disappearance of traditional wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and other wine regions of France. This conclusion was reached by a group of Canadian scientists based on their research, the results of which are reported by The Daily Telegraph.

Experts from the University of British Columbia (Canada) focused on the study of 11 of the most popular grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chasselas, Chardonnay, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Trebbiano (also known as Uni Blanc). Based on statistical data, scientists have built models showing the period of flowering and ripening of these grape varieties. Using forecasts of climate change, they predicted where these plants could be grown in the future.

At the same time, scientists point out that if the global temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius, which corresponds to modern trends, then by the end of the century more than 50% of the current wine-growing regions of the world will be lost. In addition, experts believe that in order to cope with the effects of global warming, producers will be forced to abandon those grape varieties that they have used for a long time. In other words, winemakers will have to replace the weather-sensitive Pinot Noir, required for making red Burgundy wines, for a more intense Syrah or rather drought-resistant grenache.

At the same time, according to experts, winemaking estates in the Bordeaux region, including Chateau Latour or Chateau Margaux, will have to replace grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with the late Mourvèdre variety. ripening period. Thus, experts say, losses can be reduced by about a quarter if producers replace the currently used grape varieties with crops that are more adapted to high temperatures.

"The effectiveness of any strategy depends on both winemakers and ordinary people," said lead author of the study, Professor Elizabeth Volkovich of the University of British Columbia. “Consumers who are willing to try new varieties can make a great contribution to saving their beloved [wine] regions,” she added.

In the summer, employees of the Agreste statistical office at the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food said that due to spring frosts, summer heat and hail, wine production in France in 2019 decreased by 12% compared to a record 2018. In particular, according to their data, the production of the wine industry was at 43.4 million hectoliters, which is 12% less than in 2018 and 4% less than the average over the past five years. In Champagne, as well as in the historic Languedoc-Roussillon region, the extreme heat waves in July and August affected the harvest the most, drying up some of the grapes. Farms in Burgundy (Macone region, Saona-et-Loire department) suffered heavy losses, as well as some of the farms in the Bordeaux region, which reported falling ovaries due to spring hail and June rains.

National treasure

The wines of France and its vineyards are part of the country's national heritage - cultural, gastronomic and geographical. The republic ranks third in the world after Spain and China in terms of vineyard area and competes with Italy for the right to be called the largest wine producer. Wine production in the republic is an important component of the French economy. Winemaking, the country's second largest export industry with a turnover of € 13 billion, employs at least 500,000 French people.

France is home to grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and others. It was here that many winemaking traditions originated, which later spread throughout the world.