Wine and Global Warming

A group of 50 French chefs, sommeliers and chateau owners have made a plea for their leaders to adopt strict targets on carbon emissions in order to preserve the nation’s wine industry. In an opinion-editorial published in Le Monde earlier this month, the group calls directly on President Nicolas Sarkozy to push for a favorable agreement at the UN climate summit this December in Copenhagen.

The letter, also signed by Greenpeace, cautioned that French ‘wines could lose their souls,’ as the global rise in temperatures causes wines to have a higher alcohol content, heavier textures, and too much ‘sun’ in the range of flavors. Summer heat waves, recent hailstorms in the Bordeaux region and new diseases arriving from the south are already making vineyards more vulnerable and could soon become far worse.

The editorial warned that extreme conditions could result in the permanent destruction of the terroirs of French wines, and if nothing was done to reduce carbon emissions, the world map of wine would be changed forever, with vineyards moving over 1,000 kilometers beyond their traditional borders by the end of the century. ‘Wine is the result of an alchemy between a native soil, or terroir, and generations of winemakers,’ they added. ‘Today this alchemy is in danger.’

According to the authors, the developed nations need to make an agreement to reduce their CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. The letter was signed by such figures as Michelin-starred chefs Jean-Luc Rabanel and Marc Veyrat, sommeliers Franck Thomas and Antoine Petrus, and oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt.

Simone Gie
[email protected]

Photo credit: Gourmet Magazine

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