News Daily Spot: English see climate change as an "opportunity" to produce better wine

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English see climate change as an "opportunity" to produce better wine

"Climate change was very beneficial to us", says Chris Foss, director of wine from Plumpton College, the first and only British school of viticulture, inaugurated in mid 1990. A symbol of a country that 30 years ago or even it appears on maps of wine countries.

"Since then, we have gone from a few to more than 600 wineries," says Alistair Nesbitt, a researcher on climate and the vineyard at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Most of them are located in the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent (southeast) and Hampshire (southwest). But there are also areas further north, as in Yorkshire and Scotland.

Global warming in England "an increase in average temperatures during the summer and fall, which is good enough for the ripening of the grapes," explains Julien Lecourt, viticulture research director at East Malling Research, an organization dedicated to agricultural issues.

Forecasters also predict an increase in average temperatures during winter and spring, a decrease in summer rainfall, which would help contain certain diseases vineyards- and an increase in minimum temperatures in these two stations would mean a reduction the danger of frost to crops, he adds.
Pinot Noir in the spotlight
This climate change, associated with calcareous soil, has greatly benefited the English sparkling wines, which accounted for two-thirds of the more than six million bottles produced in 2014.

"The quality of English sparkling wines is very, very good," says Alistair Nesbitt, in line with a proud of the many awards achieved worldwide industry in recent years.

Consecration is an English sparkling, Ridgeview Grosvenor 2009, Buckingham Palace chose as a starter for the official dinner held in late October in honor of the president of China, Xi Jinping.
If temperatures continue to rise, "there will be more opportunities for calmer better quality wines, including reds," says Collette O'Leary, the Bluebell warehouse in Sussex, who has spent 10 years in the business.

Some vineyards produce great Pinot Noir, said Chris Foss, clarifying that, "unfortunately, does not happen every year."

Guilt is a very changeable weather that slows a little euphoria. Alistair Nesbitt confirmed that "temperatures and crops are highly variable from year to year. The warming is not a straight line, there are ups and downs. "

2012, for example, was particularly bad due to a cold and rainy June. As for this year, producers face a worse add by lower temperatures in summer that made harvesting overstayed late, in early November.

Nor is the La Rioja

However, "we should not deceive ourselves, Britain is not about to become La Rioja. We are talking about an increase in temperature of between 0 and 2 degrees to 2038, "recalls Julien Lecourt.
As for having a commercial production in the north, Lecourt not believed to occur and Alistair Nesbitt either.

"We must remain cautious. After all, they can also be planted vines in Greenland and Iceland (...) But if we are talking about a serious production, to draw the line in the center of England, "believes Nebitt.

Modesty is needed. With nearly 2,000 hectares of vineyards planted "the surface is barely larger than Tasmania. It's nice, but small, "he said, although he expects a significant growth in the coming years.
Meanwhile, against the ambitions also shown by Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, it is England that lies ahead, says Julien Lecourt, noting that the country has an ancient history with wine.

"We must not forget that the Romans planted vines here, and when (the now French region) Aquitaine was English, we were involved in the explosion of viticulture there," he recalled.

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