I was up at the Hunter Valley, in NSW a couple of months ago, doing the rounds of the Vineyards, and checking in on all the cellar doors. Whilst there, I heard a story that I thought was worth sharing.
My wife and I were at one of my favourite Wineries, Tyrrell’s, sampling some of their fine reds, when we decided to do a guided tour of the winery.
The tour was fantastic, the guide was interesting, and like any good guide, quite quick with a joke and a one liner. Having never been through a winery before, I thought the whole process was quite fascinating, and it highlighted the difference between how a good wine is made, and how a spectacular wine is made.
However, the part that I thought you all may be interested in is the harvesting.
The grapes must be harvested at the precise time, to achieve the best results, and therefore the best wines. The harvest time is determined by the number of weeks since the vines have come into bloom. When a vine comes into bloom is based on seasons and temperature. Once those weeks have passed the grapes are tasted daily by the winemaker to determine the exact time of harvest.
During the tour our guide explained to us that due to global warming the harvest time has crept forward by roughly 2 weeks each year, as the average temperature increases. It was only 10 years ago harvesting was done in March. It is now done in early January.
Big deal, I can hear some of you thinking. Well actually it is.
If the trend continues, and everybody expects it will, there will need to be 2 harvests in a year, as warmer temperatures will be around long enough for the vines to produce fruit twice a year. Great, you may well think, twice as much wine. Alas, while there may be twice as much wine, the fruit that comes off the vines will be half the quality. The proof of this is in India, where they harvest twice a year due to the warmer climate. In India, their wine can be purchased at a bottle shop, here you would expect to find most of it at Bunnings, along with other paint strippers.
The industry is already preparing for this to happen, and are working on ways to artificially make the vines only produce once a year. Different sprays, fertilisers, and soil technologies are being looked at so that the quality of our wines are not destroyed by global warming.
I left Tyrrell’s hoping that every climate change sceptic in Australia is a wine lover, and wishing they also do a winery tour that explains what is happening, as the Tyrrell’s tour did. I also hope that other wineries are telling the same story, as in order to protect the industry, people need to have the knowledge, only then will they change their habits.
People can stick their head in the sand all they like, but when it interferes with my drinking, well that’s a step too far. Climate change is real, and whether it is caused by humans, or nature is irrelevant. If we can slow the process down, we’d be fools not to. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, aren’t we humans also a part of nature??
The logic behind this argument amazes me. People like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones think that if climate change is part of nature, and not man-made, or human induced, then we should leave it alone. By that logic we would not put out bushfires, I also assume that if we found a way to prevent earthquakes and Tsunami’s, then they would be against preventing them. If a Comet or Asteroid was headed for earth, they wouldn’t spend money to have it shot down? This is the same logic they are using for global warming from what I can tell.
I couldn’t find any more up to date figures, however here are the facts from 2006-2007. Australian wine exports were worth $2.87Billion, the industry directly employed over 28,000 people, and the industry has been growing approximately 4.4% each year. The industry also brings in huge tourism dollars from both locally and abroad, and creates employment in a vast number of related industries, such as shipping, storage, packaging, and of course retail, to name a few.
Overall today, in both export and locally consumed produce, the Australian wine industry adds approximately $5.5Billion to the Australian economy.
Australia does so well with our wines due to one major reason, quality. If we lose our quality as a result of global warming, we can kiss the industry goodbye.
Idiots and fools like Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, and Alan Jones may think that the industry is worth putting at risk to score political points, I don’t. I live in hope that these people will see the light, but I am also aware that it will no doubt take a tragedy, or the collapse of an industry to change their tactics, and that is a true shame.
Today, I know there is another rally outside parliament house protesting the government’s action on climate change. I hope they don’t have the offensive sexist signage this time.I don’t think these people are stupid, they have just been misguided by people ignorant of the facts.
It’s all enough to drive a man to drink….
Just quickly, my recommendation would be to get yourself a case of one of these superb Shiraz’s from Tyrrell’s and hide them for a few years, Old Patch Shiraz, Vat 9 Shiraz, and Johnno’s Shiraz. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.tyrrells.com.au/Follow @madwixxy