‘We will have to get used to new varieties’: How climate change will make wine sweeter and more alcoholic
- Experts believe warmer temperatures will make wine sweeter and more ‘jammy’
- READ MORE: Greenhouse gas emissions need to be slashed by 65% by 2035 to avoid global temperatures exceeding the 1.5C ‘tipping point’, report warns
Knowing your Bordeaux from your Beaujolais is certain to impress your guests at a dinner party.
But the art of tasting wine could be about to get a lot more complicated because of climate change.
Experts believe it will become harder to tell subtle aromas apart as warmer temperatures make wine sweeter and more ‘jammy’ with fewer traditional floral or earthy flavours.
The heat is also likely to deliver significantly higher alcohol content. Emma Sayer, a professor of ecology at Lancaster University, said: ‘Climate change may show up some of the people who like to pontificate about wine without knowing what they are talking about.
‘They will need to taste the difference in wines made from grapes grown in different temperatures, and learn about new varieties.
The art of tasting wine could be about to get a lot more complicated because of climate change (stock image)
‘The most expensive, exclusive wines may even change, as dry wines from grapes suited to cooler climates with the right acidity become more rare and in demand.’
Those who are versed in tasting tend to swirl wine before swallowing – to pick up on flavours and develop ‘mouth-feel’.
But this process could be affected by a reduction in plant compounds called tannins because of higher temperatures.
Climate change might also lead to more rain in some countries which – in the case of Britain – would leave its increasingly fashionable wines lacking in flavour, according to Professor Sayer.
Producers are harvesting earlier, selectively picking the healthiest grapes and adapting their fermentation techniques to account for climate change, she will tell a tasting event at the Edinburgh Science Festival on Tuesday.
Experts believe it will become harder to tell subtle aromas apart as warmer temperatures make wine sweeter and more ‘jammy’ with fewer traditional floral or earthy flavours (stock image)
But we will have to get used to new wine varieties, such as those made from fungus-resistant grapes, developed because traditional vines face a greater threat from mildew.
Professor Sayer added: ‘We need more events like this climate change wine tasting. Not every tasting will be pleasant, for example if we asked people to try wine from smoke-tainted grapes affected by wildfires – but it is a new way to understand how climate change will affect what we eat and drink.
‘I’m afraid some of people’s favourite wines, like pinot noir, may just be a bit harder to get hold of in the future.’
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