The major challenge that wine-making must face is the increase of alcohol content. Producing a wine under 14° is already difficult in the Rhone Valley and if the warming continues at this rate then wines will be produced at 15° or even more.
However the adaptation level will be different depending on if the warming is less or more than 2°C.
With an increase of less than 2°C, the adaptation can happen in a progressive and linear fashion, without any significant changes for the consumer:
- Choice of suitable plants: grape varieties more resistant to heat, later ripening, less water requirements, etc …
- Adjustment of cultural practices : less leaf thinning to maintain some freshness within the vine stock, possible return to goblet-pruning (like in Châteauneuf du Pape) to protect the berries from the sun ,
- Adjustment of cellar practices: temperature management, resorting to acidification or dealcoholisation …
With an increase of more than 2°C, the scenarios are a little more radical:
- Transfer of vineyards to areas located more in the north which are fresher (this scenario is obviously not greeted with open arms within the profession),
- Vineyard irrigation,
- Blending of various vintages to level out the dryness of one with the freshness of another.
Let’s hope that the COP 21 Conference which takes place in Paris at the end of the year, will reveal some results which measure up to these challenges
crédit photo : http://blog.worldgrandscrus.fr/2014/05/
Published : 2015-10-30