Like the maple syrup industry, wine is doing fantastic – but will soon collapse into a fiery death of hellish tipping points.
The news: Early tastings of Bordeaux 2010 suggest it is probably just as good as the 2009, described as the vintage of the century.
The received opinion: This is because of global warming, which produces riper grapes, and better wine quality.
Wine experts are not climatologists. But wine literature is full of gobbledygook about global warming’s short-term benefits (which is said to have dramatically improved fruit quality in many regions) and long-term perils (which is predicted to destroy the wine industry).
The theory that the wine industry will have an epiphanic moment before dying out has caused winemakers considerable alarm and launched more than one seminar on the subject. Climatology is far from an exact science and one problem with much of what is written on the subject is sweeping generalisation. Even if one sets aside the controversy over the ‘official data’ on warming — the United Nations panel estimated that the average global temperature increased by 0.74 degree C in the 20th century — the world is not warming evenly. For instance, Germany recorded the lowest temperature ever in 2009 and New Zealand had record late snowfall in 2009.