Bordeaux Wine: Greenpeace highlights climate change threat

When the French delegation sits down at the UN summit on climate change in Helsinki in December, they will have an added reason to press for a solution to the threat of climate change. The French wine industry, the world’s largest, could be a major victim of global warming – or so Greenpeace claims. The environmental group, along with some 50 winemakers and chefs, penned an open letter that was published in the highly influential French newspaper “Le Monde”.

The letter paints a grim picture for French vineyards unless urgent and drastic measures are taken to reduce the global CO2 emissions.

Calling French wines the jewels of France’s common national heritage, the letter said the wines were vulnerable to climate change.

The letter further warned that summer heat waves, the recent hailstorms in the Bordeaux region, combined with new grape diseases from the South, could cripple the wine industry.

The letter, signed by the owners of 35 vineyards from across the major wine regions of France, claimed that failure to control greenhouse gases could see vineyards displaced by about 1000 kilometres by the end of the century. What that means is that at the turn of the 21st century, the north of France would be experiencing weather that would be similar to today’s south of France. Up until now, global warming has been beneficial for the wine industry as rising temperatures have resulted in wines with higher sugar and alcohol levels, and lower acids. Though French wines have more and better vintages now, any further increase in temperatures could mean wine tasting more like jam.

The letter urged French president Nicolas Sarkozy to push for a deal that would see developed nations reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40% by 2020.

There are already rumours circulating that French wines, including the top Bordeaux growths, have undergone changes.

Perhaps we will see the French wine industry move to England?



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