In Bordeaux, Climate Change Looms

Grapes ripening too soon in warming climate
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2011 6:00 PM CST
Peter Zavialoff of the The Wine House wine store in San Francisco, samples a glass of Chateau La Tour de By during the Union of Grand Crus 2008 vintage wine tasting in the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel...   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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(Newser) – The world's most famous vineyards—sorry, Napa—in Bordeaux, France, are being weakened by climate change, the Telegraph reports. Grape vines, especially those refined over years for the making of wine, are notoriously sensitive, and rising ambient temperatures cause their fruit to ripen earlier than considered prime for making top-shelf wines like Lafite, Petrus, and Latour.

Vintners have already switched to genetically-modified heat-resistant grapes, but there are worries they will only cope with modest increases in temperature. "The most pessimistic scenario says that the climate will no longer be suitable for Cabernet and Merlot wines by the middle of the century," said one wine expert. "If climate change comes quickly, things will get difficult for all of us," says a Bordeaux winegrower. "If it comes slowly, we will adapt."

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