Good news! Climate change means better wine, with a higher alcohol content. From the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chapter 1, "The consequences of warming are already detectable in wine quality, as shown by Duchêne and Schneider (2005), with a gradual increase in the potential alcohol levels at harvest for Riesling in Alsace of nearly 2% volume in the last 30 years. On a worldwide scale, for 25 of the 30 analysed regions, increasing trends of vintage ratings (average rise of 13.3 points on a 100-point scale for every 1°C warmer during the growing season), with lower vintage-to-vintage variation, has been established (Jones, 2005)."


  1. And this improvement is due ONLY to climate change, and not due to things like selective breeding of plants to improve grape stocks, or due to improvements in the technique of winemaking itself, or due to any kind of placebo-esque fads regarding how vintage ratings might be bestowed…


  2. Wow, for the first time since college my steadfast endorsement of the green movement is called into question… a livable planet or more drinkable wine, that IS a tough call.

  3. Climate change means better wine, with a higher alcohol content.

    That’s good, because the “skeptics” in the last climate change post have driven me to drink.

  4. Doesn’t this have more to do with culture? Maybe the wine maker culture requesting grapes stay on the vine to develop more complex flavors and more sugar? Perhaps it’s the younger wine consuming culture that enjoys and purchases more wines with higher alcohol content?

  5. I don’t know. Alsacian Riesling is OK, but this just means the grapes are getting sweeter.

    That’s bad news for the sort of dry cool climate Rieslings we produce in Australia, that are much more to my taste.

  6. there is a limit to how much sugar is practical to have in grapes before it becomes impossible to ferment it out – either producing semi-dry wines (and whether people want these is more to do with fashion than anything else) or high alcohol wines (which become significantly more expensive for consumers once they reach a higher taxation bracket, which in aus is about 15% alcohol)
    also, anonymous #9, grapes often reach flavour ripeness before they reach sugar ripeness.

  7. Stronger hooch AND a reason to wear shorts year-round? Maggie, I think you’re after my own heart. Well, either mine or Jimmy Buffett’s.

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