In recent years, French vintners have produced a number of exceptional vintages, and Elizabeth Wolkovich, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, says that climate change is part of the reason why. As climate change continues to drive temperatures higher, however, that recent winning streak could soon come to an end.
By examining more than 500 years of harvest records, Wolkovich and researchers from NASA found that wine grape harvests across France, on average, now occur two weeks earlier than in the past, largely because of climate change pushing temperatures higher without the aid of drought. While earlier harvests are normally associated with higher quality wines, researchers caution the trend likely won’t last forever. The study is described in a March 21 paper in Nature Climate Change.