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Global warming brings wine making North

Reporter: Jack Barton 丨 CCTV.com

05-10-2014 13:13 BJT

European wines are feeling the effects of climate change with famous labels from France and Italy to Spain and Portugal under threat. While traditional winemakers worry, new vineyards are popping up in countries once considered too cold.

In Belgium quality wine making was long considered impossible. But warmer weather varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are now taking root; being harvested much earlier and developing new characteristics all because of climate change.

"If you take the average say beginning in the 90s we had a natural alcohol level which was around 11 and 11.5 and now we easily reach 12 and a half thirteen." Joyce Kekko, Co-Owner, Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen said.

Of course that’s good news for Belgian winemakers.

"Belgium will become within the next 25 to 30 years it will become an important wine growing country." Geurt Van Rennes, Winemaking Consultant said.

But success here comes at a cost elsewhere.

Belgian wine makers believe their industry is on the very of a golden age but global warming is proving a real headache in countries like France and Italy.

In southern Italy and Spain climate change is already wreaking havoc.

"The real south of Europe and north of Africa I think wine making will disappear because it’s just not possible anymore." Joyce Kekko, Co-worker, Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen said.

European Commission officials point to this as evidence climate change is no longer a future problem.

"We have seen increased precipitations we have seen severe drought we have seen unusual climate weirdening as some people call it and apparently its here to stay unless we do something about it." Isaac Valero Ladron, Spokesman OF European Commission on Climate Action said.

Echoing the US government’s new report calling for action, the EU has also urged the world to ‘get real’ about solving the problem.

"It’s up to us to decide how severe we want the consequences of climate change will be. This is reality." Isaac Valero Ladron said.

Right now the word on the grapevine is that Europe’s famous regional wine varieties are about to suffer an identity crisis.

And while there will be a few new winners, like Belgium, there will also be plenty of big losers with losses potentially running into billions of Euros.

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