Climate Change + Your Wine = More Alcoholic, Way Pricier
During undergrad, I ran a wine blog that specialized in balancing a love of wine with college-level funds. One of the first things I learned is that certain wines give you more bang for your buck (and by bang, I mean alcohol). But climate change is upping wine's price and alcohol content, so kick your wine habit now. Unless you want to be poor and drunk.
Initially, global warming benefited grapes. A 2005 study showed that in some of the world's most famous wine regions — various parts of California, Washington, southern France, Spain, and Portugal — have shown a whopping 4.5 degree climate change. For now, though, the winemakers are pretty pleased with global warming, as the higher heats have correlated with better-quality vino.
But the heat may prove to be too much for classic grape-growing regions like Tuscany, Australia, and South Africa. The strong market hold will make economic waves, driving up the price of wine. Wine waves sound nice, I must admit. But economic wine waves? Not as much fun.
So what about this higher alcohol, though? Traditionally, grapes that grow in hotter regions are sweeter and have a higher alcohol content. That means your Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels do the trick better than acidic wines. Those grapes are faring well in the current climate, and have shown an uptick in alcohol content. Quartz reported that Zinfandels have become 30 percent more alcoholic since 1990, and that the alcohol content of Bordeaux has gone from 12.5 percent in the 1980s to around 16 percent.
But higher alcohol percentage isn't such a bad thing, right? Gregory Jones, who studies the weather-wine pairing, told Vice that it can have its drawbacks. “High-alcohol wines tend not to go well with food, and that’s what we do — drink wine with food," Jones said.
Outside of the rosy world of the bon vivant, where you might pair a $8 bottle of Shiraz with say, Ramen noodles, it doesn't sound like such a drawback. But it could have a pretty big effect on the taste of today's wines.
Meanwhile, wine is surging in nontraditional venues. Warm temperatures at the start of the summer have English vineyards expecting a record number of bottles from this year's crop.
The way I see it, we have a few options. Either:
A) Kick our wine habits now and put the savings into investments
B) Keep them going and invest in good resealing technology and, perhaps, stop eating out as much
C) Join Al Gore and crusade against global warming to save the winos.