2019 seemed to be the year that climate change made its way to center stage, although it has to share space there with plenty of other attention grabbers!
The wine business has a reputation for being rather conservative, traditional and slow to change, perhaps because it is literally rooted in the ground, but there has been a flurry of articles recently on the topic of climate change, its potential effect on vineyards and winegrowing and what viticulturalists and winemakers are doing about it.
Grape vines, of course, are extremely sensitive to climate variations and this is probably true of most fruits, like the famous Bartlett pears that grow next to our Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in Lake County. However, unlike other crops, the wine made from grapes uniquely captures and preserves each year’s changes – this is the essence of vintage after all. Perhaps this is one reason why wineries around the world are responding with uncharacteristic prescience.
Here’s some of the relevant press on the topic from 2019.
In her Aug 16th article “The end of Cabernet in the Napa Valley” Karen Mobely the SF Chronicle wine critic, detailed concerns about increasingly early harvest dates due to warming growing seasons. She reviewed the efforts of Larkmead Cellars and the Beckstoffer family, among the largest growers in the region, to research possible alternatives to the dominant Cabernet grape. Both have invested in sizeable test vineyard projects.
Of particular interest to us at Dancing Crow was the inclusion of Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet in some of these trials. We already have these two varieties growing and producing in our Old Stake 1901 Vineyard, where of course it is already warmer than Napa (and cooler at night).
Read the SF Chroncile article HERE
If a subscription wall stops you, or the link becomes inactive, then a Google search will usually get you to this and the other articles.
The New York Times featured a 4 part series titled Wine and Climate by Eric Asimov, which covered some of the same ground as the Chronicle, but also asked “How does your love of wine contribute to Climate Change?” and noted how warmer weather could sometimes produce pleasant surprise as in “Great Bubbly from England, Believe it or not!”
Check out Asimov’s pieces HERE
And finally (for now) this headline in Decanter:
Bordeaux winemakers allow new grapes to fight climate change
A potentially landmark vote has seen seven new grape varieties approved for Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellation wines as part of efforts to fight climate change. As with the Napa project, Touriga Nacional was one of the varieties selected.
Read the full article HERE
If you’re curious about our 2018 Field Blend from the Old Stake 1901 Vineyard that contains Touriga and Alicante Bouschet along with a dozen other unusual varieties just go the the WINE section of this site, sign up for our newsletter and check back here for more on this evolving story…