A warming world has French winemakers sweating more than a little, experts tell the Financial Times. “Current research suggests that by the end of the 21st century, one summer out of two will be at least as hot as 2003,” the year of a record-breaking heat wave that prompted early harvest and lackluster vintages, notes one scientist. Industry experts are worried enough that they penned a letter asking Nicolas Sarkozy to get behind a steep carbon emissions cut at a meeting in December.
Early harvests mean grapes “lose the freshness, and the wine becomes tart and unpleasant,” says a sommelier. As it stands, an analyst points out, “France just happens to be in the perfect position to make a range of fantastic wines. Just a bit farther north in Britain it’s not quite hot enough; Africa is too hot.” If that balance is lost, wines will lose their individual identities, he notes.