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Winemakers around the world are noticing huge vintage variation thanks to changing weather patterns.
Boris Champy, joint director of Maison Louis Latour in Burgundy, said that analysis of the growing season for the past 70 years showed harvests had advanced by 10 days thanks to global warming.
Champy added that 2011’s harvest was two months ahead of schedule, but said: “I don’t think it’s a good or bad thing, we just want it to happen naturally”.
Looking at data since 1940, Champy said “it’s not the summer temperature that’s changed – it’s the spring – March, April and May – is clearly warmer than 20 to 40 years ago”.
“We don’t worry too much about it, if it was global cooling we would really worry, but we have to adapt,” including making changes to pruning techniques.
In Australia, Wakefield Wine’s chief winemaker Adam Eggis said the wine indsutry there was adapting to the 20-year cyclical weather patterns of El Nino and La Nina.
Eggins told Harpers: “What is fascinating is that we seem to be in a 20 to 30 year cycle of heavy rain events. 2011 being the latest, before this 1993 wet, 1974 wetter, then back into the 1940s.
“The good news, if history holds, is that the wet events do not hang around for long and hopefully 2012 will a perfectly normal year.”
Eggins described the effect on 2011’s wines – “the white wines will be fine”, he said. “In fact many of the Rieslings are delicious. Red wines will be challenging from South Australia and Victoria. Many of us may not release any premium 2011 red wine but jump from 2010 to 2012.”
But other areas were more fortunate – the Hunter Valley and Western Australia “escaped the wet” and had “very good” vintages, said Eggins.
Story by Gemma McKenna
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review