The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Climate Change Threatens Champagne’s Unique Taste
Warmer temperatures and earlier harvests in the famous wine-making region are producing grapes with less acid, and acid is important for both the aging process and the freshness of the famous sparkling wine, Bloomberg News reported Monday.
"Harvest is two weeks earlier than it was 20 years ago," Champagne house A.R. Lenoble co-owner Antoine Malassagne told Bloomberg News.
2018's vintage will be the fifth to be harvested in August instead of September in the past 15 years and the region has been two degrees Celsius hotter than usual for the past six months, according to the Comité Champagne (CIVC) trade association.
But Malassange and his fellow winemakers aren't ready to surrender their bubbly to rising temperatures.
Champagne makers have long added reserve wines to enhance the taste of their vintages. Now Malassange is specifically designing reserves to add "freshness" by preserving them using natural cork.
Others are covering soil with straw to preserve microbes in the soil and blocking the second round of fermentation in the wine barrel in order to preserve acidity.
Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon of famous champagne label Louis Roederer is also working to make grapes more resilient to warmer temperatures and the diseases and pests that they help spread.
Lecaillon expressed optimism about the growers' ability to innovate in response to changing conditions.
"We invented bubbles to make up for unripe grapes. As farmers, our job, our life, our passion has been to adapt to climate change for hundreds of years. If the future heats up too much," he told Bloomberg News. "We'll just have to make Burgundy."
The region as a whole, though, takes the threat of climate change very seriously. In 2003, it became the first wine-growing region to calculate its carbon footprint and take steps to reduce it, according to the region's website.
The region's wine growers succeeded in reducing emissions by 15 percent per bottle shipped.
However, climate change isn't bad news for all sparkling wine makers. Across the channel in the UK, warming weather could make the country's chalky soils ideal for vineyards that produce sparkling whites.
British winemakers have planted a record one million vines in the past year, and French winemakers like Taittinger have planted vineyards on British soil, The Telegraph reported Aug. 2.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove even spoke with optimism this month of what warmer summers could do for the industry.
"One of opportunities of a changing climate is the chalky soil of parts of England, combined with the weather that we are having, means that English sparkling wine will have a bumper harvest," he said, according to The Telegraph.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.
'This Should Scare the Hell Out of You': Photo of Greenland Sled Dog Teams Walking on Melted Water Goes Viral
By Jon Queally
In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.
By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
'Huge Victory' for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as NY Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation
By Julia Conley
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.
Tens of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country
By Julia Conley
Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.
By Will J. Grant
In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.
People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.