France's culture de la vigne is as much a product of history as an accident of geography. Since the beginning of winemaking in France, the French climate has been perfect to support a variety of grapes. The best wines in the world are made in France. Now, this is threatened, many wine growers feel, by climate change. In 2003, which was a very hot year, many feel that wines lost their identity and, for example, wines from the Loire valley in the northern part of France tasted like wines from the Rhône in the South.
Reflecting these concerns, in August of this year, 50 of France's top chefs, sommeliers and wine producers wrote to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, arguing that climate change was threatening the survival of the wine industry and pushing for France to demand a 40 per cent cut in global carbon emissions by 2020 at this December’s Copenhagen conference. Climate change, they wrote, was threatening the soul of French wines.
Now, Greenpeace, has presented on September 4 under the heading: Rouge Alert: Climate Change Threatens French Wine a detailed study of the impact of climate change on wine in France. The study details how French wine production is a climatically sensitive endeavour - and shows that it is at great risk from environmental change.
The same day, the Financial Times carried an interesting article on the subject.
And I detected a new book by Stuart Pigott on wine regions beyond the traditional bounderies of wine growing, from a German perspective of course:
Stuart Pigott (September 2009), Wein Weit Weg – Wine far away: Expeditionen von Norwegen ueber den Kaukasus nach China.It is a book, as Pigott puts it, about the wine regions of the 21st century.... Norway and China?