Red, red wine?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

"Red, red wine, stay close to me, don´t let me be alone" are the famous lyrics of one of Bob Marley´s biggest hits. But what if that popular chorus ends like a melody from past memories? Expert Johann Martínez-Lüscher of the University of Navarra has found out that an increase in temperature and carbón dioxide could damage one of the most traditional and respected drinks: wine. Heat and carbon dioxide emissions could contribute to accelerate grape maturation and therefore change two of the most significant attributes of Baco´s favorite drink: its color and aroma.

Keep calm and drink wine, for now. However, who knows how our celebrations will look like in a few year's time when wine varieties have completely changed. "According to our results, if you look at the same grapes, with the same accumulation of sugar, the ones that have been produced in a climate change scenario, show poorer coloration and this could be transmitted to the wine", said Martínez-Lüscher. In fact, this phenomenon is driving red wine producers to go for an over ripening of the grapes, and therefore, higher alcoholic levels in the wine in order to achieve a proper coloration .

As far as climate change goes, it is the biggest feat of the 21st century, it might also bring opportunities for countries like the UK,which has recently joined the wine market with success. Nevertheless, this would only be a collateral benefit from a global panorama that seems darker than red.

As Martínez-Lüscher added, "one of the answers to this challenge could be the use of new adaptive strategies or the selection of improved veresions of current varieties. Maybe changing the varieties that each place grow for the ones grown in a warmer place could be seen as an easy solution – however, this would mean giving up tradition and typicity of our wines which is unaffordable". Climate change effects are visibile on a daily basis, and it now can be identified on our table… and maybe our songs.

"The combination of varieties or maybe changing the varieties that each place grows, however this would mean giving up the tradition and typicality of our wines which is unaffordable". Climate change effects are visible on a daily basis, and it can now be identified on our table…and maybe our songs.

Patricia Sáinz de Robredo

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