The Chardonnay era of climate change?
Mireya Torres is a representative of the fifth generation of the famous family of Spanish hereditary winemakers. These vineyards are over 150 years old. But today, a new threat looms over them – climate change. The scorching summer sun, periods of abnormal heat and drought may complicate the lives of more than 4,000 wineries throughout Spain in the future. The volume of this industry is 7 billion euros per year.
Mireya Torres, owner of the Torres winery: “It all started in 2008, when my father watched Al Gore’s documentary“ The Inconvenient Truth, ”he was shocked. According to our own observations and the evidence that in the summer we had more and more more days with temperatures above 30 degrees, he realized that we had problems, and we had to start working. ”
Recent studies have shown that due to a temperature increase of 2.7 to 4.7 degrees and a 40% reduction in rainfall, growing grapes by 2070 will be impossible in southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Due to global warming, the familiar taste of the beloved by many Cabernet will change very much and irrevocably.
Mireia Torres: “Some of the varieties that are currently commercial have proven themselves very well and they produce really high quality wines in most Spanish wineries, but by the end of the century they will change and will not be the same.”
In search of a milder temperature, the Torres family climbed the mountains. Cooler nights in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees allow the grapes to ripen to the ideal level of sweetness and skin color.
Jaime Velazquez, Euronews: “When the Torres family bought this piece of land at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level, they did not even imagine that they would eventually plant a vine on it. The winters here, in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees, are very long and harsh, however, the vine took root and began to grow quite quickly. How soon will high-altitude vineyards become the norm if we do not stop global warming? ”
Javi Ermella, who runs the Torres vineyard in San Miguel, says that with every hundred meters above sea level, the temperature drops by almost a degree, so that in conditions of warming, the vineyards will rise.
Javi Ermella, manager: “On the plains, in the lowlands, in the vineyards, problems now arise during periods of extreme heat. As a result, wines lose their freshness, aroma. They lose their balance. And the only way to solve this problem is to move to higher areas.”
But back to the valley. Here, Spanish growers restore a traditional vineyard that has been abandoned for decades in favor of more commercial varieties. This vine is well adapted to adverse weather conditions.
Perhaps behind some forgotten root varieties is the future of Spanish vineyards. Why doesn’t this Forkada wine become the Chardonnay era of climate change?