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Apr 23, 2013 06:48 AM

Climate change study 'exaggerated and full of mistakes': Chapoutier

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  1. 'When the study says temperature may rise between 1 and 2 degrees, we have already had vintages where that happened. In 2003 or 2005 for example, when the majority of vines coped well.’

    The problem here is this rise in temperature refers to decadal averages (e.g. 30 years) not the occasional vintage. Just like you cannot use a couple of sub normal cold years to disprove that the average global temperature is rising.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      I've probably let it be known here that I don't believe in the doomsday predictions for wine and viticulture in some of these studies.
      When you say "the problem here is" what do you mean? I don't think anyone, including Chapoutier is discounting the possibility of warming. No one I've seen has been saying that the recent cool vintages in Cal disproved global warming.
      The valid point he is making is that we have seen winemaking in vintages where the temperature is much higher than the multi-year norm, or approaching the levels one would expect if indeed there were warming over a couple of decades. Even more importantly though is that those vintages were spikes and to a large extent surprises. Viticulture and winemaking afford so many techniques that can be employed, especially if the change is gradual, to allow good wine to be made. Even without a complete shift in varieties used which is also likely if a pronounced long-term warming occurs.

      1. re: john gonzales

        I'm not talking about doomsday, however you define it, but rather climate change, of which global warming (and cooling) is only one aspect. The global temperature has been on the rise and the last decade is the warmest ever recorded so it's not a question of "the possibility of warming" nor "if there were warming over a couple of decades".

        Think of it more as these "spike" years becoming the new normal which will then in turn have a new set of spikes. Temperatures (rising night time temps are of particular concern and not just for agriculture) along with changes in precipitation and weather patterns, along with a number of other variables will dictate changes, some of which may be dealt with by technology, some that won't.

        The northward migration of plant and animal communities and the increasing early onset of spring (again using 30 year averages) have been well documented in the US over the past several decades. So crops will continue to be grown but may require relocation, development of new hybrids, etc.

        What I find of particular concern is that 30-40 years ago the scientific community was of the mind that the shifts between the ice ages and warm periods occurred over many centuries, if not millennia. What we're witnessing now is that these kind of changes may be possible over mere decades.

        One bit of irony in this grand experiment that we're all involved in is that our current situation with the melting of the glaciers, sea ice, and polar caps and the resultant rise in sea level may well prove to be the mechanisms that actually trigger the next ice age.

        Just my $0.20 (adjusted for inflation)



        1. re: PolarBear

          I would have to look up the figures for something like the Rhone (esp. South) in 2003. The spike was historic with both the average temps and the deviation from the norm being much higher than normal. The "normal" temp using moderate levels of projected warming won't reach the 2003 level for decades. Yes there will be spikes, but most likely not to the extent that 2003 varied from the norm.
          As far as viticulture goes not all aspects of climate change will be a bad thing. Frost or excessive cooling early in season, and excessive rain at points can actually be a negative. Heck IMO Burgundy would be better off with a little climate change :), and IIRC in 02 some in the Rhone chapitalized.
          Again, I don't think his point was to dispute the change but to say that a season at something like 3 degrees F higher than current norm has been experienced already. They have ways in the vieyard and the winery to ameliorate the negative impacts. These capabilites are broad and even more likely to be employed if the change is gradual. In 2003 with all the heat and ripening some in the rhone acidified to help them maintain standards. Wine production is so advanced and the price level of many of the products is so high, that they can afford to use an incredible bag of techniques to deal with climate change.

    2. I will not go there. I have very strong feelings, and feel that lies are being told, to further an agenda.

      Good luck,


      4 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Amen. There is more ice on the planet now than there was ten years ago.

          1. re: PolarBear

            NASA is absolutely correct. The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rate that many, myself included, consider alarming.

            However, unless the southern hemisphere no longer exists or one is willing to ignore it, my statement is still correct.


            1. re: jock

              Your statement is correct with regard to the sea ice, however, the snow melt and rising temperatures on the land mass is quite another story.


      2. Chapoutier's comments seem pretty reasonable to me. Climate is may change significantly, but grape farmers and winemakers will in most cases adapt rather than abandon established vineyards.

        Here's the full report:

        The authors actually seem to agree with Chapoutier: "Adaptation strategies involving viticulture, vinification, marketing, land use planning, and water management can all help avoid conflicts with conservation objectives in areas of declining as well as expanding suitability."