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Bitter news for wine makers

For many great wine growing regions, a warming planet doesn’t mean a sudden end of production, but we may see a slow degradation of wine quality as vineyards overheat, dry out, and soil chemistry changes. These are among the grimmer findings at the second conference on Climate Change & Wine, which ended last week in Barcelona, Spain. Since the first conference, a few years back, scientists have deepened their understanding of what higher levels of CO2 will mean for grapes’ delicate flavors and speculated further into a future when rising temperatures not only open up new growing territories — from England to inland China — but ruin many of the birthplaces of important wine varieties. Reporting for the LA Times, Corie Brown writes, “Scientists told wine makers… to expect natural acidity to drop, colors to fade and alcohol levels to rise. Aromas could vanish. In short, wine may gradually lose the complexity wine lovers appreciate. And as rising levels of carbon dioxide encourage out-of-control vegetative growth, the green, herbaceous flavors consumers deplore may well increase.” Read more here. Raise a glass now, for the future looks uncertain.