Better Wine With Climate Change?

By on April 4, 2016

Wine bottles. (Credit: Public Domain)


It’s tough for scientists to find data sets going back far in time to answer some of the questions that they have about climate. But thanks to some creative thinking by a few researchers at NASA and Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, they have found the next best thing: records of vineyards from France.

The grape-crop records kept in the country’s monasteries are meticulous, dating back to the 1300s in some cases. By tapping this previously unused resource, the researchers have made some interesting discoveries about temperature conditions that existed in the past.

Over the centuries, scientists found a pattern emerging which showed that conditions in Western Europe were stable, until about the 1980s. During that time period, the pattern began to break down, showing rising temperatures that caused the times of harvest to be moved forward.

Interestingly, wines made in early-harvest years tend to be of higher quality and there have been more high quality wines produced with climatic changes, researchers say. The problem with this, however, may come in the future with temperature increases that advance too far for supporting healthy grape crops.

Top image: Wine bottles. (Credit: Public Domain)

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