The real reason we need to worry about climate change… 23



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Right now, as I write this, I am sitting down with a cool glass of Sav Blanc on my deck overlooking the leafy green views of my suburb. It is like a Friday night ritual for me, and like you and your Friday afternoon drink, I absolutely love it. But today I read something alarming that posed a complete end to our Friday night wine…

Climate change.

Now, before I lose you or you tell me this is rubbish, let me explain. I stumbled across an article that wrote about an interview with Wendy Cameron, the head winemaker at Brown Brothers. Brown Brothers is one of Australia’s largest oldest wine producers and Wendy after working there for 16 long years, knows a thing to two about how to make a good drop.

And she tells us that we are all at risk of losing our Friday evening wine because of climate change!

In 2008, Australia experienced a huge heatwave and this is what happened…

“Grapes ripen in warmer weather and you can’t just leave ripe grapes on the vine — their sugars will get too high, yielding wines that are too alcoholic. Too much sun exposure can also affect flavor, and eventually grapes will begin to raisin. Everything had to be harvested at once but we only had so many employees.”

Then the entire winery was in turmoil… The emergency yield of grapes was too much for the limited production time, there weren’t enough refrigerators, there wasn’t enough water plus in the middle of a drought, water prices had skyrocketed so this was one of the least unprofitable seasons.

Now, we are told (yes, there is conflicting science but we’ll just go with the common view here) that climate change is making global temperatures rise and in turn, this is making the outlook for wine makers a little shady…

If the rising temperatures cause grapes to ripen all at once, and if they need to be harvested faster than the wineries can cater for, if the production rate is too slow to get the wine made, if not enough water is available to make the wine and if enough fridges aren’t available to house it, we’re in a for one big wine crisis… We can say goodbye to our Friday night wines as we know it.

Of course this is a stretch, but for me the “what if” here is far too intimidating for me to handle it lightly. So while you join me for your evening glass, savour that flavour, because who knows how long it will last!

Are you a wine lover? What is your favourite kind?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Too much information!!! I’ll just enjoy my glass of Riesling and contemplate the problem we may have!!!!

  2. God what a bummer of a way to start the weekend. Could you not have waited until Monday to release this. I’ll be in a panic all weekend now. Ha ha.

  3. England is growing grapes now. They use to get wine from us now we know we’re definitely in climate change. Cheers.

  4. I think I will go to the fridge now and have my Riesling while I still have it. Cheers!

  5. On the Australian continent, El Niño events are associated with increased probability of drier conditions. Some of Australia’s most devastating droughts have occurred during El Niño periods, including the 1914-1915 Drought, the severe 1982-1983 Drought, and the long El Niño Drought of 1991-1995. Droughts, however, do not always occur during El Niño years. Some develop independently of this global force, however, such as the drought which began on 1 June 1979 and lasted until December 1980. Australia is an extremely dry continent. This is because of a variety of factors. There is a persistent high pressure system located above central Australia. Cool water currents off the coast of Western Australia prevent rainfall in that part of the continent. Australia is also a very flat continent, which leads to reduced orographic rainfall.

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