In the wake of the much discussed Decanter piece on climate change, here are some more thoughts from Michel on global warming and its study…
The vine is a pre-desert vegetation (sub-Mediterranean) which without the dangerous and artificial help of irrigation is capable of having its roots reach more than 50 meters below ground to search for water (when the irrigated vines can only reach roughly 2-3 meters in depth): then you lose the adaptability to evolve with the climate. There, the New World vines are in real danger.
If the climate evolution allows the planting of certain varietals in northerly zones, it doesn’t leave room for interpretation (it is black or white and nonscientific) and the place of origin would not be adaptable; maybe we will be planting Syrah in Beaujolais this would not bother our Syrah in the northerly Rhone Valley.
European varietals which are today planted in climates like California, show us the differences in climates between theirs (New World) and ours and leaves us 100 years or more margin in the more pessimistic forecast for the evolution of climate.
Regions like Bordeaux or the Southern Rhône have not only the diversity complimentary to their varietals but also adaptability and an exceptional flexibility. Bordeaux will lower their amount of Merlot and will raise their amount of Petit Verdot when the Southern Rhône will lower their amount of Syrah and raise their amounts of Grenache and Mourvèdre (in response to climatic shifts of higher temperature). And all of this without inter-varietal cloning which on its own could resolve all of the problems.
In two words this communication is more political than scientific, it is part of the risks of abuse of science when it is at the service of politics and lobbying. ”Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul”… and humanity.