Climate change may alter wine-growing regions

As the world climate warms up, vineyards are feeling the heat: harvests are earlier, wines are coarser and have a higher alcohol content and lower acidity. Why would that be any big deal, you ask? Well, for one, wine as we know it would change — especially the finer ones.

Former Vice President Al Gore addressed wine experts at the Second International Congress on Wine and Climate Change, arguing that “if the temperature rises two or three degrees (Centigrade), we could manage to see Bordeaux remain as Bordeaux, Rioja as Rioja, Burgundy as Burgundy. But if it goes up five or six degrees, we must face up to huge problems, and the changes will be hard.”

Some of the changes we’re likely to see if that temperature rise occurs are the types of wines grown in specific regions — think Champagne in the Champagne region in France. French Champagne producers have reportedly bought land in Sussex and Kent, England in preparation for warmer temperatures (does that mean we’ll have to start calling French Champagne “Sussex”?).

The conference-goers’ expert verdicts on wines affected by climate change should be out soon. Until then, enjoy that Bordeaux while it lasts.