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Climate Change; the End of the Wine Industry?

Climate change: A controversial topic across the United States and much of the world. Some stand firmly on the belief that climate change impacts much of the day-to-day of the world negatively, while others have determined climate change is a ploy, made up by those with an ulterior motive.

However, there is one thing both sides can bond over and that’s good wine. And, climate change or not, undoubtedly hotter temperatures and increased precipitation during prime grape growing season over the past few years has changed how and when wine gets from vine to bottle and in some cases, the taste itself.

Fear not! Not all change is negative. Yes, the hotter temperatures causing issues like fires throughout much of California (well known for its grape vineyards and wine production) or drying out soil is not a good thing of course, but winemakers across the country aren’t giving in. They are simply adapting to now almost unpredictable weather so that the perfect wine for you is still available.

California wildfire stats
California wildfire stats over the last years

According to a four-part series New York Times article from October 2019, hotter summers, warmer winters, and drastic events like spring frosts and unexpected flooding, have changed, but not killed, the wine game.

“In the short term, some of these changes have actually benefited certain regions. Places, like England, that were historically unsuited for producing fine wine have been given the opportunity to join the global wine world, transforming local economies in the process,” journalist Eric Asimov wrote. 

Asimov said in the first of four series on climate change and the impact it has on wine that the altering weather is contributing to five “crucial” changes in the wine industry: the wine map is expanding; winemakers are seeking higher ground; growers are curtailing sunlight; regions are considering different grapes, and weather is no longer as predictable.

vineyards affected by climate


What does that mean for the consumer? If climate change completely isn’t hurting the wine industry – still very much up for debate- then what in Santa’s sleigh bells are we upset about? Well, upset may not be the right word. Instead, what should consumers be wary of? Temperature and amount of precipitation affect different elements of wine, like tannins, acidity, and alcohol content per volume. Producers are having to adapt their process to get their products on shelves. So when purchasing your next bottle of red, white, rose, or sparkling for whatever the occasion, be aware that climate change impacts both the quality and quantity of grapes, which in turn can affect not only the quality of the wine in your glass, but the price you are paying for it. Check out the list below to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

  1. For those who love red wine, you can’t go wrong with this bold, yet subtle Cricova Ornament Kagor Pastoral. With its rich color and fruity bouquet, it’ll be obvious pretty quickly to you (and the person you are trying to impress) that it came from quality vines.
  2. Anyone looking for a white wine for drinking (not cooking!) whether it’s for a night on the town or in with friends, be sure to check out a riesling, like the Secco White Dry Riesling. “This Riesling with its beautiful varietal purity captivates through typical flavor characteristics together with its refreshing acid. It stands out for both, the greenish-yellow reflections in the glass as well as for its vital, youthful fruit style.” If that doesn’t just scream quality.
  3. For a rose or sparkling, look for something exciting, but not too sweet. A Cricova Rose is a safe choice and a good way to finish the night off. It’s a combination of two different grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes- ensuring the quality of this miracle combination is worth every penny.

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