According to a study released on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, wine enthusiasts all over the world may have a good reason to put down the cheese and take their noses out of their glasses for a moment — bad news is on the horizon.
The study shows that prime areas that are suitable for growing premium wine grapes could easily be reduced by 50 percent (possibly as much as 81 percent) by the end of this century. According to the paper, the main problem is unpredictable weather and an increase in the number of extremely hot days. And the wine Mecca that will be hit the hardest by the latest global warming side effect? California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys.
According to scientists, the grapes that are used in premium wines need a consistent climate. When temperatures get above 95 degrees the grapes have trouble with photosynthesis and the sugars start to break down. And what does that mean? Sour grapes and seriously bad wine.
Some might see this is a bit of frivolous science, but people in the wine industry have a reason to be concerned. The scientists who authored this report cite long-term studies that support their findings. This is serious business.
And, if you think about it, this might also prove a useful new tactic for climate scientists, who have to deal with those in the general population who still believe climate change and global warming are simply pieces of liberal propaganda: Start hitting everyone where it hurts. They have the attention of all the sommeliers and vintners in the world. Who’s next?
How will global warming affect the growth of tobacco? Get the smokers worried about climate change. How will it affect the growth of coffee beans? You’ll have a whole crowd of people carrying their cappuccinos to see An Inconvenient Truth. What about corn and hops? Let’s get those folks in Middle America riled up.
This may sound like an incredibly cynical tactic; however, many people don’t care about a problem until they see how it will affect their personal lives. That’s the way the world works, and that’s why this sort of study presents interesting possibilities. Global warming can’t be slowed until people believe it’s happening, and care. How many wine lovers out there want their grandchildren to grow up in a world where the existence of a red, kind of dry, kind of sweet alcoholic beverage is just a thing of history lessons? How many want to grow old in a world where the price of vino makes it inaccessible to the average citizen. Two-buck chuck will be nothing but a memory. Try 80 buck chuck — just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?