Climate change is a topic which it seems is already affecting all of us, with 2016 going down as the hottest year since recording weather began in 1880. Wine makers in California are trying to find ways to adapt to the changes in weather.
Droughts have been an issue for years, and warmer nights are common as well. Wineries are looking for new ways to capture water, like man made reservoirs and are trying to become more energy efficient, with the use of gravity feed irrigation and solar power. Some are using owls and falcons to go after pests drawn by the milder winters.
Some reports suggest that rising temperatures around the globe could imperil major wine-making regions in the coming decades. One study suggested that by 2050, many regions in Europe, including much of Italy and swaths of southern France could become unsuitable for wine grapes. The same study suggested that California production could fall by 70% by the century’s mid-point.
As California heats up, winemakers are confronting new challenges with mice, voles and gophers. Also, with fruit ripening earlier, swallows and crows are eating fruit before it can be harvested.
Winemakers are using technology to monitor how much sap is in the vines and calculate exactly which part of a vineyard needs water and which doesn’t. Drones are employed with sensors that can determine nutritional deficiencies indicated by color.
Not all efforts involve technology. Some are rediscovering ancient methods that have a positive effect on drought conditions. Cover crops are employed (like rye and barley) between the rows to keep the soil healthy. Composting is also used to enrich soil and help retain moisture.
Water recapture systems are also being devised to re-utilize water that is used to wash barrels.
Vines can be replanted with new root stocks that send roots deeper into the soil, drawing more ground water and requiring less irrigation.
The ultimate goal for some is to get as close to dry farming as possible.
Winemakers will have to find ways to adapt to a changing world and hopefully be able to continue making wine for many years to come.
Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile
Our White Wine of the Month for February is the 2014 Poema, White Blend, from Catalunya, Spain. It’s made with Macabeu and Muscat grapes and is bright, aromatic, with white fruits and a clean finish.
Our Red Wine of the Month is a wine made from grapes harvested during both the 2013 and 2014 vintages, Carino Rosso is a super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah from Tuscany. It has juicy berry and violet, plum and strawberry flavors, medium body and a smooth finish.
Wine Club members please come in and pick up your wines before they’re gone.
I hope to see you all at our Spanish wine tasting on Friday February 10th.
Sommelier, Maynards Market and Kitchen