It's nearly already a cliché: start buying land in Sweden, because soon you'll be able to grow grapes there. There has been an awful lot of talk over the last 15 years about rising global temperatures and the effects on the wine world. For some of us, there was long ago enough circumstantial evidence (along with the very real, documented increase in global temperatures) to point to some pretty serious implications for the winegrowers of the world. There are lots of hardcore science types, however, that like to maintain that such evidence, even when collected by people like the Inuit (who you would think could be trusted when they point to a patch of soggy ground and tell you that it has been frozen for the last 30 generations) doesn't amount to scientific proof.
This study doesn't amount to proof (in fact it takes it for a given), but a recent article in Slate highlights what to my eyes looks like one of the more rigorous scientific studies on the effects of global warming on vineyards. The interesting thing about this study is not that it was conducted by a couple of economists who wanted to know what the effects of global warming would be on the vineyards of the world, and in particular, whether top vineyards would still be able to produce the quality of wines they are producing now if global temperatures go where now most people are saying they will.
These two economists used the highly documented (since the 1800s) vineyards of the Mosel valley to try and discover correlations between the amount of radiant heat the vineyard received and its quality of fruit. They in fact determined that the more heat the vineyards got in the Mosel, the better (and higher priced) wine they produced. Which means good things for the Mosel as global temperatures climb, but here's the rub: the Mosel is one of the more northerly growing regions of the world. So essentially the research shows that Germany will be sitting pretty in ten to twenty years, but elsewhere? Can you smell the raisins?
The upshot gives credence to the flip discussion about new vineyard land. There will doubtless be places producing wine in two decades that no one ever believed could possibly do so.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune