Change is not something the French take lightly. Americans know that from our love affair with their traditional culture, an experience so foreign from our own. But like it or not, there is one change happening quickly that they have no control over. Climate change.
There has been more and more information coming out about how climate change is affecting wine in general. As one of the most nuanced and delicate agricultural processes, wine is feeling the heat in a real way. For the moment, Champagne and others are having a sort of “climatic sweet spot”. However, in 20 years or so, this sweet spot might be moving north to regions like… (gasp) England. Twenty years ago, the harvest began in late September but now it’s happening in August. The precarious change has improved the taste and quality of Champagne. The sugars of the grapes develop richer, which equals more alcohol and less acidity. This makes for a more balanced and complex wine.
It’s not only England that is enjoying its newfound entry into the wine industry. Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, northern Germany, and even Canada have started producing certain types of wine. In the South, some winemakers are moving into Patagonia, Argentina, and Chile. All of these places were historically too cold to support the grapevines.
Embracing the change, producers have are growing grapes at higher altitudes, and switching up the normal varieties. For example, the relationship that cabernet sauvignon has in Bordeaux or Napa. French law regulates which varieties can be grown in certain regions. As with all things, they will evolve and adapt. The wine grape is one that likes a challenge. It performs best when being snipped, stripped back, or surviving in the most challenging environments where the roots must grow very deep. So, it’s most likely up for the challenge.
If you want to plan a trip to visit these beautiful vineyards and learn more, send us a note at info@ChloeJohnston.com and we’ll create an experience you’ll never forget!