Weather is the first factor to consider when growing grapes for wine. Currently France is experiencing a climate change effecting the areas well known for wine such as Bordeaux, Languedoc, and Champagne. California is also dealing with the current drought. Soil type and structure, grape type, climate, and history of the surrounding area in which grapes come from is what makes each one individually different from any other grape. Just like fruits and vegetables, climate change is vital to grape production, and will affect the soil in which the grape grows. These attributes are otherwise known as terroir; something that acquires flavor and ambiance through soil, ground, locality, or the place it comes from. How exactly will the weather patterns of France and California effect our future wine varieties.
Heavy rainfall, disease, and a delay of the spring and summer seasons caused the number of grapes picked to diminish. Wine makers in France noticed that high temperatures in recent years have caused low acidity levels and high sugar levels in their grapes. Wines like this tend to become more alcoholic with higher fruit notes; many claim that it’s not very tasteful. With over 300 million plus bottles sold from Europe, chefs, restaurateurs, and sommeliers alike are concerned about the depletion of certain wine grapes in years to come. Located above Paris, Champagne is the most northern of the wine regions in France. This sparkling wine is acclaimed for its beautiful bubbly succulence; a common drink on New Year’s Eve, wedding ceremonies, and graduations worldwide. Producers of Champagne think that this region of France is comprised of different influences making theirs so special. In the near future, region will lack a third of their product during harvest due to this negative weather decline.
Due to a cold spring and current summer heatwave in France, wine production will go down by 10% says BBC News. The grapes are high in sugar and without the capability to ripen properly. This is not the first time France has seen this weather outbreak, however in the 1990s, it was also a problem for wine producers. With recent hail storms, predictors say between 7000kg and 8000kg of grapes will result. With less champagne production there could possibly be a higher demand for it over the next few months with consumers knowing that it may run out fast. Champagne France experiences hot to warm climate from July thru October and sometimes spurts of cooler climate in the beginning of fall. When the weather is warm for an extended period of time, the Champagne producer can label it as a vintage wine because it is made up of grapes from that year within the same location. Non- vintage Champagnes are produced from a few varieties of grapes grown in the same or different areas of France. But, as for California they are also experiencing negative effects in viticulture (the cultivation of grapes for producing wines).
California’s struggle with viticulture is the current drought they are experiencing. This drought is the worst it has ever been in California in 1,200 years. According to Wiley Online Library the largest wine grape region in northern America contains 1.2 million hectares of land and 18000 hectares or vineyards. This region includes Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma. California produces almost two thirds of the United States wine and offers about 82,000 careers around the US, says Huffington Post. Wine producers are encouraged to find better methods of growing grapes so that they are not so dependent on water and can handle warmer climate. Unlike wine in France, wines in California are sold by variety not by region. Perhaps they will start to consider selling wine by region, to make it easier for the consumer to identify a wine when it goes off the market.
The world’s best wine grapes are stressed out. Climate change and varying weather conditions are on the rise all over France and California. Grape growers will have to assimilate other agricultural methods so that their crops won’t die out completely. It may only be a matter of time until the storm passes.