The "Washington Post" today carries a piece on what global warming is doing to the French wine industry. Radically changing the time table is the conclusion.
The picture above is of the staff at the Domaine du Clos St. Landelin. The Alsatian winery'e owner talked to the reporter for the Post's story.
Here are some of the key points. The vineyard's harvest in 1978 was on October 16. Twenty years later it was on September 14. This year havesting began August 24th, earliest in the family records which go back 12 generations, to 1648.
The warmer seasons bring more insect pests. Also sugar and the resulting alcohol levels in the wines are rising. Now in Provence some vintners add vinegar to their wines to level off the excessive natural sweetness. Thirty years ago it was common practice in Francde to add sugar to wine before fermentation. That's no longer necessary.
Perhaps the wrost threat to the 13-billion dollar Frenchwine industry: global warming has regenerated a vigorous wine industry in England where it has been dormant for 500 years. A little vintage red from Kent anyone?
What nobody can predict: what are the climatic limits of the French vineyards? Can they continue ever earlier harvests? What effects will the more frequent droughts bring? Stay tuned, it looks like we're destined to find out.