Drinking wine after climate change means drinking rare bottles

By Brian Lemay 35 comments

This is wine no one in the world has ever tasted. – It has a beautiful color, a very intense color. And we’ll be drinking this in the future. – It’s fresh. It’s intense. Because our favorite wines are under threat of extinction. Across the world, warmer temperatures are affecting everything we grow. Farmers and scientists are in a race against time to save the foods we love. Winemakers are on the front lines. And they’re looking to the past to adapt to the future. And finding answers in this glass of wine. I’m Hannah Yi. This is Quartz. Subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one. – Wine grapes are so spectacular because they’re so sensitive to climate. Elizabeth Wolkovich is an ecologist who studies how climate change affects wine. She says wine grapes, more than any other crop, are the perfect climate specimens. – They’re so responsive to the drought conditions, the frost
conditions, extremely responsive to how hot it was, that you are tasting exactly what that season really was. And you put it in a bottle, and can taste what something
was like 100 years ago, or three years ago. But it’s also one of the reasons that some people
say [it’s] a canary in the coal mine for climate change. The biggest indicator? Harvest dates are moving up because it’s getting warmer. – Humans have been recording the dates of harvests
of wine grapes in Burgundy, France since the 1300s, and so we can actually reconstruct past temperature regimes. An increase of about 1.2 degrees Celsius over the past century has meant
wine grapes are maturing earlier. And in some places, that’s been great. Thanks to milder winters and warmer summers, there are
burgeoning winemaking communities in Sweden and the UK. In Germany, winemakers are harvesting Riesling five weeks earlier
than they did decades ago. And that means juicier grapes. But those same trends are putting the world’s most famous wine regions at risk. In Burgundy, warmer temperatures are making finicky
grapes like Pinot Noir harder to grow. South Africa is having the lowest harvest in years, after a historic drought. Bushfires in Australia are adding a burnt aftertaste to wines. So winemakers need new grapes. Bodegas Torres is one of the largest wineries in Spain. And this is not your typical vineyard.
Because these wine grapes are really good at one thing: – This variety is working very well in extreme conditions of high temperatures. Mireia Torres is the fifth generation of winemakers in her family. These grapes are from Catalonia, and winemakers
stopped growing these varieties centuries ago. Miguel Torres is Mireia’s brother. – Our ancestors, they wanted varieties that [would ripen] a bit earlier. because they wanted to make sure that they would not have
any complications because of late rains that could come. Their Catalan ancestors stopped growing grapes that ripen later. But now that the climate in their region is changing, the Torreses
have started looking for those forgotten varieties. – Here we have all the collections of Catalan varieties. All these, all are ancestral. No one has tasted them before. – We feel a little bit like Indiana Jones.
We are recuperating part of our history. Miguel A. Torres started the project more than 30 years ago, placing ads in the local paper requesting any strange-looking grape vines. – We have found around 55. Scientists analyze the DNA to make sure it’s a unique variety. Then it’s brought here and tested for viruses. The young vines are planted in this test vineyard,
cultivated into grapes ready for harvest… – So next year, we will be able to have wine from this vineyard. and brought here to create small batches of wine. – These actually, it’s called “variety 44.” That is the code
that we use for varieties that still don’t have a name. The entire process can take anywhere from six to 20 years. They’ve tested 55 varieties. Three are promising. They’re delicious and adapted to warmer temperatures. One is even acclimatized to colder conditions.
And that’s important for another reason: Because, as it gets warmer, winemakers are looking
to plant in higher regions with cooler temperatures. These are the highest-altitude vineyards in Catalonia,
and they’re growing an ancient variety called Pirene. Even if we planted no new varieties, we couldn’t expect to drink
the same bottle of Riesling or Pinot Noir in the future. The climate is changing their flavor. – Wine grapes have over 1,100 different planted varieties, but very little
of that diversity actually makes it to the average consumer. How can we use the massive diversity we have in wine grapes to think about adapting? And the idea, I believe, is to change varieties. If we want our wine, or any food, to survive a warmer world,
our tastes will have to adapt, too. So are you open to tasting wines from ancient grapes and new regions, or are you going to stockpile your favorite bottles? Let us know in the comments.


TheDootMan 27

Mar 3, 2019, 10:10 pm Reply


PussPuss McKitten

Mar 3, 2019, 10:21 pm Reply

The secret to success is to be ready when opportunity comes, even when the world ? is coming to its end

John Cuevas

Mar 3, 2019, 10:22 pm Reply

Wow this new wine is fantastic, it’s a shame the planet is DYING

Zen = Yen ?

Mar 3, 2019, 11:18 pm Reply

my school teacher said that if one can't evolve, adapt to change then one will inevitably perish. that changed my attidue towards life.. too bad that the grape plant and seeds didn't attend the class.
edit – there was some mention of Darwinism and the Survival of the Fittest.


Mar 3, 2019, 1:18 am Reply

Different narrator. I still think I could do better.

Calvin K

Mar 3, 2019, 9:02 am Reply

everyone saying the world is dying but they gonna die WAY before it…


Mar 3, 2019, 11:10 am Reply

1:48 "And in some places that's been grape"

MP3M8 :D

Mar 3, 2019, 1:11 pm Reply

._. not the wine ;-;)

Wodan Ymir

Mar 3, 2019, 2:30 pm Reply

Nice we can even make the earth warmer to kick out our competition. More profits! Hail climate change!

David Boson

Mar 3, 2019, 4:34 am Reply

um – i dont drink wine.

Mercer Wine

Mar 3, 2019, 5:15 pm Reply

I've been a winegrower in the southern US for 13 years. The past 3 years have been devoid of the necessary heat our native grapes require. The results were lower yields and later harvest.


Mar 3, 2019, 8:45 pm Reply

Grand solar minimum will insure this trend shifts over the next 11-120 years.

Nemanja Lakicevic

Mar 3, 2019, 8:41 am Reply

So, it's not global warming but climate change now? Hmm, I wonder why.

Dale Gervais

Mar 3, 2019, 12:55 pm Reply

Just another fascist hateful deamoncrat hate porn lie. Wine is always changing with the always changing climate. black majority South African ethnic cleansing of white farmers/vineyards caused the drought and famine. Your fake media is always a lie.

The Hazy Juice

Mar 3, 2019, 4:01 pm Reply

Why do u think so many winery owners are selling…..Constellation is almost selling off all there wine….the future is Marijuana, Beer & Spirits

Megan Denton

Mar 3, 2019, 2:37 am Reply

We must and will evolve to these current and future changes, though it makes me wanna buy as much wine as I can afford…now!


Mar 3, 2019, 6:21 pm Reply


David Boson

Mar 3, 2019, 4:00 am Reply

grape juice is over-rated


Mar 3, 2019, 12:23 am Reply

really australia burning , just making burnt flavours….. i have this feeling that you get 1 percent of the conversation here, about time that the crumbling of the old world of wine….

Fermented Sourdough

Mar 3, 2019, 8:17 pm Reply

Didn't hailstones & extended cold last spring damage the French grape crops such that production was down by more than half?


Mar 3, 2019, 5:04 pm Reply

Wine is extremely nasty

Bob Du pew pew

Apr 4, 2019, 10:59 pm Reply

Where's the guitar music from?


May 5, 2019, 5:32 pm Reply

This is great news! Rich people will now finally step in to stop climate change now that their wine is being threatened!

Ben Forrester

May 5, 2019, 10:23 am Reply

As a lover of Barolo, I’m appreciative that the warming climate has made wines made from Nebbiolo more approachable while they’re still relatively young. I’m down to try new wines, but if I have to stock up on Alsatian Rieslings, I’m okay with that.

Adam Baum

May 5, 2019, 4:27 pm Reply

Forget history and how wine was produced in Scotland. Cultural Marxism at its best.

Home Projects TV

May 5, 2019, 1:35 pm Reply

I can't find pirenne wine information anywhere. The word causes Google to pull up information on Muhammad. Will you please post information on these new varieties?


May 5, 2019, 6:49 pm Reply

I don’t understand why people need to be so pretentious about wine

Ximon Whhatt

Jul 7, 2019, 3:47 pm Reply

Im not really a wine person

Ignacio Morales

Jul 7, 2019, 1:07 am Reply

Same is happening to tea, coffee, and so on. Qualities and benefits from food and beverages are threatened by warming.

Chris Lieb

Jul 7, 2019, 3:21 pm Reply

What a crop of useful idiots.

nicholas lewis

Jul 7, 2019, 12:02 am Reply

Both. I'll take both.

John Doe

Jul 7, 2019, 3:01 am Reply

Marijuana growers have been breeding genetics to get new cultivars forever now…..

Nic T

Jul 7, 2019, 10:14 am Reply

All in all, it's just alcohol.

Joshua Nesseth

Jul 7, 2019, 1:38 am Reply

Entire piece on climate change, adaptive business models, and wine–and misconstrues every one of those topics in ways that are almost laughable…

Honestly, the title doesn't even mirror the narrated content of the video, which itself doesn't coincide well with the experts interviewed, all atop a trivialisation of the greatest crisis of our world today into "we won't have wine that we already know! We'll have to try indigenous varietals and grow grapes other places, which is new and different! WAAAAAA!!!"

Seriously…just…stop. You're going to poke someone's eye out with your crass obliviousness.

John Sagnella

Jul 7, 2019, 10:33 am Reply

Sadly Spanish grapes are the least exciting of all the grapes.

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