Wine News Heating Up
Once again, time to scan the headlines and see what’s up in the world that could affect wine.
Well, this ain’t good:
France's river Loire sets new lows as drought dries up its tributaries
Unfortunately we’re back in “we’re already paying for the climate change folks claim we can’t afford to do anything about” territory. Stephane Mahe writes that the river Loire is suffering from a record drought:
Even some 100 kilometers from where the Loire empties into the Atlantic Ocean, sand banks now stretch as far as the eye can see, large islands connect to the shore and in places people can practically walk from one side of the river to the other.
This is going to affect tourism to the region, river fish can’t live and are getting picked off by birds and other predators, and of course no telling what will happen to the wines of the area.
Yet, days after major wildfires hit France, torrential rain flooded parts of the Paris metro and storms lashed southern France, while in some villages in the south, water was brought by trucks as natural springs have run dry.
Swell. Or not swelling, in this case.
Speaking of wildfires:
Plans to rebuild after wildfire damages rare vines in Crete
Growers in the village of Melambes in Crete saw devastating wildfires cause ‘complete damage to 300 acres (121.4 hectares) of old pre-phylloxera vines’ in July, according to an online crowdfunding page created to support viticulture in the area and help those affected….
…Yet it will take several years to rebuild the vineyard and growers affected have lost their source of income, she said.
Nobody was hurt in the wildfire, but Malihin said the scene was ‘like a nightmare’ as growers and the community battled to save houses, as well as vineyards….
While we’re talking about the cost to replace this old vineyards, let’s indeed talk about the workers who are losing their jobs and their homes, and the years of lost income that will never be recovered. And what does that do to a region’s economy?
There’s a line in the pilot episode of the sitcom Sports Night (Aaron Sorkin’s dry run for The West Wing) where a disillusioned sports anchor complains that reporting on sports has now turned him into a crime reporter. I feel like if you really care about wine and what’s happening in the industry, you now have to become an expert in climate change.
Good Lord, isn’t there any good news about this out there?
From returnables to alternative materials // Packaging’s perfect storm plays to bulk’s strengths
Folks are recognizing that the packaging of wine can become more sustainable, and we’re going to have to get creative. (Emphasis mine.)
Though consumers can be fickle and hypocritical, many surveys show that the vast majority of them embrace a reduction in waste and schemes such as deposit-return. A survey in France showed that 88% of the French are in favour of resurrecting the deposit-return scheme that fell out of use in the second half of the 20th century concurrently with the rise of consumerism. By 2023, the government is due to reach a firm decision on whether it reintroduces this type of scheme but already, initiatives designed at collecting, washing and redistributing wine bottles are springing up around the country….
…As glass shortages force wineries to put new releases on hold and bite into profit margins, a shocking amount of glass still goes into landfill – the percentage quoted for the United States, for instance, is 75%. But this is not the only option for removing glass bottles from part of the equation. There have probably never been as many alternative packaging solutions out there for producers. From bag-in-boxes and kegs to cans, PET, aluminium and even paper bottles, there is a huge incentive for the industry to switch to more environmentally-friendly options.
Let’s put the snide criticism of consumers aside for a second. So what you’re saying is I’ve been on the cutting edge beating the drum for boxed wines!
It seems like we can do something concrete by being more selective in our shopping, and asking our favorite producers what they’re doing to combat waste and improving sustainability. Now is definitely the time.