Change May Be Coming to Your Favorite Wines

“Because of this warming, we’re seeing a wider range of very interesting wines,” said Dave Parker, founder and CEO of Benchmark Wine Group, a major vintage wine retailer. “We see regions that were not so popular in the past to produce excellent wines now. Great Britain, Oregon, New Zealand or Austria may have been marginal in the past, but now they produce great wines. It’s an exciting time to be a wine lover. “

The rising temperatures have certainly harmed some winemakers, but in some wine-growing areas the heat is a boon for the vineyards and the drinkers who covet their wine. Mr. Parker said that the growing conditions for coveted vintages in Bordeaux used to be less frequent and sometimes only once every decade: 1945, 1947, 1961, 1982, 1996 and 2000. Because of the heat, they were all very ripe vintages. But in the past decade, as temperatures have risen in Bordeaux, wines from 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 have been in demand – and high-priced.

And then there are the wines from previously overlooked regions.

“I would say there has never been a better time for wine collectors,” said Axel Heinz, director of the Ornellaia and Masseto winery, two of Italy’s best wines. “The vintages and the wine have gotten so much better. And for us, the changes of the last 20 years have brought many growing areas into focus that collectors have not been interested in until now, such as Italian and Spanish wine. “

(Still, he said his vineyards are not immune to the negative effects of climate change, with an increased risk of spring frosts and hail.)

Yet for all the romance associated with winemaking, it is essentially agriculture. So while winemakers benefit from the higher temperatures, winemakers have had to adapt in ways that affect both prices and grape varieties. (And of course, vineyards are sometimes integrated, so the winemakers and the winemakers are all part of the same business.)

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