Institute of Masters of Wine Webinar: Climate Change & Global Wine Trade – February 17th, 2021

The Institute of Masters of Wine is continuing its webinar series next Wednesday February 17, 2021 with a session on “The Impact of Climate Change on the Global Wine Trade.”

This webinar will examine the impact of climate change from vine to glass with leading experts climatologist Dr Greg Jones, economist Mike Veseth and CEO of Wine Intelligence Lulie Halstead sharing their views in a discussion covering the impact on growing grapes and wine quality, trade and distribution and on wine consumers. 

Climate change is having an impact on wine production. Increasing temperatures affect vine phenology with reduced winter dormancy, and earlier physiological ripening. They also affect the spread of disease and pests. Climate change is leading to more frequent and more extreme, extreme weather events with increased drought conditions and wildfires in regions such as Australia, California, Spain and South Africa, spring frosts and more violent storms leading to flooding. This means greater variation in quantities of wines produced from one year to the next with increased volatility in wine prices. Climate change imperils the smooth flow of goods as transport infrastructure and ports are vulnerable. Wine consumers are increasingly concerned about climate change and are becoming more demanding in terms of wanting to know what goes into the products they buy and how they are made. This discussion will cover each of the aspects across the entire global wine supply chain.

The event will be moderated by Jane Masters MW and there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

The panel includes:

Dr Greg Jones – Chair, Evenstad Center for Wine Education / Wine Studies
Lulie Halstead – CEO Wine Intelligence
Jane Masters MW (moderator) – view MW profile
Mike Veseth – Wine Economist, Professor emeritus of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Washington)

This webinar is open to everyone, but capacity is limited. Follow this link to register.

The INAO approved six new grape varieties in Bordeaux

The Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) has officially approved the use of six new varieties in Bordeaux, which were first proposed in 2019.

The French agricultural governing body has approved the use of four new red varieties, as follows: Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan and Touriga Nacional, and two white varieties: Alvarinho and Liliorila; with plantings authorized for 2021.

The varieties were put forward by winemakers in the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs (not Pauillac and Margaux ) in the summer of 2019, as a potential means of dealing with different growth cycles and ripening periods, in the face of a changing climate.

Scientists in Bordeaux looked at fifty-two varieties for potential future use before settling on the final six which were considered particularly suitable for their ability to handle hydric stress and for being later ripening.

When plantings begin, the new varieties will be limited to just 5% of an estate’s total surface area and no more than 10% of the blend in either red or white.

These new varieties will sit alongside the already permitted varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Carménère, Petit Verdot for red – and Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Muscadelle, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc and Mauzac for white.

Rob Symington on Climate Change: “We Have To Be Activists”

At an online conference this week, members of the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) spoke of the need to “be activists” in order to bring about real change in the fight against carbon emissions.

Founded last year by Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines, the IWCA is a small but growing group of wineries dedicated to ‘de-carbonizing’ the wine industry and combatting the effects of climate change.

Crucially, the group requires its members to commit to actively lowering its carbon emissions. The requirements upon joining are:

A complete end-to-end (through Scopes 1-3) Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory (which must be completed six months after joining).

At least 20% of power generated through on-site renewable energy.

Demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% in CO2 emissions for every litre of wine produced after a baseline of emissions has been established.

A commitment to reducing total emissions by 50% by 2030 and ‘climate positive’ by 2050.

Speaking at the conference, Familia Torres’ sustainability manager, Josep-Maria Ribas, explained that all the objectives are, “science based”, to allow members to work towards producing real results in how their companies and wineries operate.

Also speaking was Rob Symington of Symington Family Estates, one of the first wineries to sign up to the IWCA. He said that the big challenge when it came to meaningful change in environmental initiatives was to “avoid greenwashing”.

Not wanting to be criticized and being seen to do something had been the “usual approach” in this area for many years and many sceptics are all too eager to pounce on projects – even good ones – that lack some sort of robustness to their processes.

This is why as well as setting its own goals, Symington said that the family-run group had been, “seeking external frameworks where we’re being held accountable to things we said we would do and that’s the most effective way to avoid falling into the trap of greenwashing”.

And while Symington Family Estates, alongside Torres, Jackson and other members, are able to take control of certain emission hotspots in the vineyards and winery more directly – producing their own energy, cutting energy use, adapting their vineyards to the changing climate, etc – there’s also a strong case for ‘activism’.

As Symington continued: “Over 85% of our emissions are beyond our control – they’re produced by the brandy makers we buy spirit from, glassmakers and transportation and so on,” but, he continued, customers at all points are able to “act as lobbyists to change those emissions from our partners”, and “put positive pressure throughout the chain”.

He added that it sometimes seemed at odd for very traditional wineries to act like activists but countered it was also important to, “stick your neck out and sign up to things like the IWCA. We joined to hold our feet to the fire and to justify the steps we need to take”.

Having goals and being held accountable is vital if not only the structural systems are going to change but the culture behind them that enables those structural systems are going to change too.

But given the challenges and threat posed to vineyards and longstanding family companies by climate change, there is also a (perfectly) legitimate form of “enlightened self-interest” in being a champion for the cause, as Symington admitted.

The IWCA is currently comprised of nine members across the Americas, Europe and Antipodes, with another two apparently close to signing up. Membership is not restricted by size and Ribas added it was currently compiling an emissions calculator that would help smaller wineries be able to join and identify where to focus their efforts to meet the entry requirements without the need to hire expensive consultants.

IWCA website – https://www.iwcawine.org/

Sources:  Drinks Business and IWCA

Snow Hits Portugal’s Douro – This is not an April Fool’s Joke!

The famous Port-producing region is under a blanket snow this week when residents would normally be witnessing the blooming of springtime flowers.The last day of March brought snow to the Douro, which is 700 meters above sea level – something that is almost unheard of at this time of year.

It is a reminder that beyond Covid-19 we still face the challenge of Climate Change.

 

Source:  Drinks Business

MILLÉSIME BIO 2020 – Pérols, France

International wine Journalists, winemakers, wine marketers, and researchers will head to the south of France January 27-29 2020 for the only trade show dedicated to organic wine.

With green issues and climate change increasingly at the forefront of consumers’ purchasing choices, the importance of organic and biodynamic viticulture has never been more evident. This makes Millésime Bio more relatable than ever.

The 2020 event will introduce the addition of beer and cider makers and is set to be the trade show’s largest event ever. The organizers have increased the space to accommodate the increased number of wineries and businesses delving into the world of organics. Therefore, a fifth hall has been opened to house a further 100 exhibitors.

For 2020 Millésime Bio will take place over three days from 27 to 29 January 2020 at the Montpellier Exhibition Centre in Pérols.

There will be a free-pour area fitted with enotecas that will offer guests the chance to taste wines that have won medals in the annual international Millésime Bio competition. The Challenge Millésime Bio is one of the world’s largest organic wine competitions, which includes a judging panel made up of wine experts and senior buyers, chaired by Jean-Luc Rabanel, the head chef of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant l’Atelier in Arles and founder of the ‘Greenstronomie’ movement.

The fair will also run masterclasses and seminars, with particular attention to organic winemaking, but also changing trends and issues affecting the wider wine trade, including business and marketing.

“It’s safe to say our fair is in very good shape and continues to gather momentum,” Patrick Guiraud, president of Millésime Bio, said.

“This year, we wanted to offer the opportunity for more exhibitors to take part. They’ve been quick to secure their stands and we’ve even had to open a waiting list in September.”

Event Details:

The opening party, organized by SudVinBio, will take place on Monday 27 January.
27 January 2020 from 10am to 7pm
28 January 2020 from 9am to 7pm
29 January 2020 from 9am to 5pm

Address:
Montpellier Exhibition Centre (Parc des Expositions de Montpellier), Route de la Foire, 34470 Pérols, France

Website:
https://www.millesime-bio.com/en