Wine Club Newsletter - August 2018
Wineries World Wide Hedge Against Climate Change Move to Cooler Sites
Growers say impact of global warming is evident in grape crops . . .
Weather (sic) you believe in global warming and climate change, or not. There seems to be a number of grape growers and wine producers that do. I can vividly remember going to a winery in England 8 years back, and the older, grizzled owner/winemaker told me they were betting on climate change with new plantings and the introduction of Sparkling wines to their lineup. He has been making wine for decades in Kent, and he is certain the chance to produce world-class wines was high.
To further his theory, Taittinger and Pommery, two of the largest Champagne makers in France, have committed to add operations and facilities in the countryside of England. “The weather and climate is not completely the same [as Champagne] at the moment, but with climate change we assume that in 10 to 30 years it will be very different and it will be qualitatively interesting to produce sparkling wines in the UK,” said Julien Lonneux, Vranken Pommery UK’s CEO.
“We only go where we think that we can plant our own vineyards, produce interesting wines and control the full process from production to commercialization. This is what we do – taking care of the land and then the wines.”
In the meantime, Pommery has scoured the English countryside, dabbling with grapes from mainly Hampshire, but also Essex and Sussex, to produce its first Louis Pommery Brut – a traditional-method English sparkling wine made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of Champagne Taittinger, said: “We believe we can produce a high-quality English sparkling wine drawing upon on our 80 years of winemaking expertise. Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK’s increasingly temperate climate, and not to compare it with champagne or any other sparkling wine.”
Taittinger said the chalky soil and south-facing slopes in Kent created the ideal terroir – soil, microclimate and topography – to plant and grow high-quality grapes for sparkling wine. The initial investment in the operation will be about six -million dollars.
As for other global regions:
When an Oregon valley famed for its wine heats up under the afternoon sun, Pacific Ocean winds rush through a dip in the mountains, cooling the grapes in Jeff Havlin’s vineyards.
The Van Duzer Corridor, the lowest point in Oregon’s Coast Range, has become a go-to place for wineries and vineyards hedging their bets against climate change. Winemakers and vineyard owners in a 95-square-mile section of the corridor have applied to become the newest American Viticultural Area, with the wind its predominant feature.
“When the temperature drops, you need a jacket in August,” said Havlin, who on a recent afternoon was driving a utility vehicle through his vineyards.
From South Africa’s drought-stricken vineyards, to France’s noble chateaus, to sunny vineyards in Australia and California, growers and winemakers say they are seeing the effects of climate change as temperatures rise, with swings in weather patterns becoming more severe.
So, they are taking action — moving to cooler zones, planting varieties that do better in the heat, and shading their grapes with more leaf canopy.
As areas once ideal for certain grapes become less viable, causing earlier harvests and diminished wine quality as grapes ripen faster, once-iffy sites like the Van Duzer Corridor are coming into their own.
Northern California’s Petaluma Gap, which like the Van Duzer Corridor sucks in ocean breezes, was designated one of America’s newest viticultural areas in December. Receiving an American Viticulture Area designation allows winemakers to emphasize the unique characteristics of their wine, determined by climate, geography, soil and other factors.
“Even though we have those heat waves just like Napa and Sonoma, we still have the cool breeze in the afternoon and the cooler temperatures at night and the fog in the morning,” said Ria D’Aversa, director of ranch operations at McEvoy Ranch, a Petaluma Gap vineyard.
The area’s slogan: “From wind to wine.”
Selsky writes for The Associated Press.
Join us Saturday August 25th for our Big August Walk Around Tasting: New World Order!
Featuring old varietals from New World regions, or New World Varietals from where you least expect them!
We will also be featuring an Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar tasting by the San Diego Olive Oil Company, with assorted flavors available to taste and take home!
$35/per person or $30/club members
Purchase your tickets today!