Champagne producers warn of climate change threat

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Champagne grapes (photo courtesy of CIVC)

Champagne may be in danger of becoming a casualty of climate change as summer temperatures hit new heights and rainfall becomes more unpredictable, experts warn.

According to trade association Comite Champagne (CIVC), shifts in weather patterns have already had a dramatic effect on grape growers and wine producers.

CIVC director of communications Thibaut Le Mailloux told the GlobalData website that climate change was bringing with it early harvests and lowering the acidity of the crop.

“We are already producing Champagne in a climate that’s different from the one of our fathers,” he added.

Radical changes required

CIVC is now focusing on research and development into how best to maintain the wine’s taste profile.

Le Mailloux said: “Changing some parameters of production has always been a tradition in Champagne. This time, it’s more pressing, because the change is drastic. It’s happening very fast. The challenge is to be able to still produce brilliant wine in ten, 20, 30, 50 years’ time. It’s less about adapting to climate change – it means radical changes and innovations.

“We are preparing for even higher temperatures, drier climates, maybe with more violent climatic events. This year, we lost 10% to 11% of the potential harvest through sunburned grapes. We have broken the highest temperature ever recorded in Champagne – 42.9°C.”

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