French winemakers warn on climate change

13 August, 2009

French wines "could lose their souls" unless action is taken to curb climate change, producers have warned.

A group of 50 winemakers and food professionals have teamed up with Greenpeace to publish an article in the French newspaper Le Monde. The piece urges politicians to take bold steps at the December UN climate summit in Denmark.

"Climate change has made vines increasingly vulnerable," the group said.

"Wine is the result of an alchemy between a native soil, or terroir, and generations of winemakers. Today this alchemy is in danger."

The article said French wines were already growing more alcoholic due to warmer conditions.

It added: "Their texture is heavier, there is too much sun in the range of flavours, our wines could lose their souls."

The group said that developed nations needed to agree a deal to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020.

The group added: "We urge the president and environment minister of the world's top wine-making nation to act with exemplarity at the Copenhagen talks."

Studies have already warned that some of the world's most famous wine regions could become marginal or even unviable as the planet's temperature rises. Although this could be disastrous in environmental and economic terms, there is a growing likelihood that widespread viticulture will become a growth industry in the south of England.

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