Vinexpo Daily 2019 – Day 3 Edition

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Climate change: the time to act is now

Wine-makers are an ingenious bunch. Over many centuries, they have learned to lay down roots in the most unlikely terrains and work out ways to deal with the annual uncertainties that accompany changing weather patterns.

But climate change is potentially a game-changer for the industry, which is why it was critical for Vinexpo to host its first-ever Symposium on the subject.

The gravity of the situation was underlined by the fact IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde took time away from trade wars to introduce the event: “The time to act is now,” she said. “I hope the debates at Vinexpo Bordeaux will be fruitful, and you can deliver on the promise we have to make to future generations. We need to leave the planet as good as when we found it.”

Led by experts from a range of fields, the overriding message coming out of the Symposium is that there is a need for “a structural revolution”. Variations in alcoholic strength, acidity, aroma and aging potential, all potential side effects of climate change, could make it increasingly difficult for wine producers to deliver a product that is recognisably theirs. And it’s not just changes in the characteristics of wine that are a cause for concern. Unpredictable seasons, cold snaps, extended droughts/wet seasons and damaging storms are all factors that could make the delivery of a consistent crop much harder to control.

The wine and spirits industry can’t tackle climate change alone, but the Symposium was an urgent reminder that it has a key role to play through carbon reduction, biodiversity and organic farming techniques. Not to be overlooked either is that wine and spirits are an influential business that has the potential to be a champion on behalf of our planet through its partnerships and networks.

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Richard Barnes
Editor-in-chief, Vinexpo Daily