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Global Warming Favors English Wine Production
   2015-11-10 07:21:27    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Tiantian

A swan swims on a lake as volunteers and staff carry crates of grapes in the annual harvest at the historic vineyard at Painshill 18th century landscape garden in Cobham, Britain, on October 14, 2015. [Photo: CFP]

Global warming has produced some unexpected results in England. The country's wineries are flourishing, thanks to a warmer climate.

Here's CRI's Qian Shanming with more.


Traditionally, England's damp and chilly climate has proved a hindrance to local vineyards, as grapes need abundant sunlight to fully develop. But that is changing.

Professor Richard Selley, from Imperial College's department of Earth Science and Engineering, explains the northward movement of warmer climates is reshaping Europe's wine production.

"The effect of climate change is being seen across Europe. Vineyards in southern France and from Spain across to Italy and across to Greece are being abandoned because they are too hot. The ones on the lowland and are being replanted higher up where it is cooler. And so we are actually seeing this northward migration of viticulture."

Varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pino Noir and Chardonnay now abound in England, a phenomenon that is quite unthinkable in the years past.

"We can see quite clearly how places like Denbies which was planted 30 years ago was planted originally with very cool climate Germanic grape varieties. These are largely being replaced with French warmer climate varieties notably the holy trinity of pinot noir, pinot Meunier and Chardonnay for the sparkling white wines."

The Queen has served English sparkling wine to distinguished guests at state banquets, including Chinese President Xi Jinping during his recent state visit to Britain and US President Barack Obama.

Sales of English sparkling wines have enjoyed a steady rise. Along with it, experts are also praising the improving taste of them.

Wine author and expert Tom Stevenson predicts a very rosy future for English sparkling wines.

"English sparkling wines, some people ask me 'is it an emerging sparkling wine region'? And I have to say: 'No it's emerged. It's already here. It's one of the top scoring sparkling wine regions there are in the world. And all of this has been achieved on very young vineyards as if you go back to 2000 there were hardly any chardonnay, pinot noir vineyards in the country and virtually no reserved stocks so if they managed to achieve that on young vineyards and no reserved stocks the future should be even better."

England's 470 vineyards and 135 commercial wineries produced more than 6 million bottles last year, two thirds of which were sparkling wine. The industry association English Wine Producers says that amount is set to double in the coming decade or so.

The association says only 10% of England's production is exported; however, that number is expected to rise as producers hope to export as much as half of their wine.

Top export destinations include Asia, the Americas and parts of Europe, particularly Scandinavia.

Meanwhile, Professor Selley predicts a warmer global climate will keep pushing grape production northward, to places as far as Scotland.

For CRI, I'm Qian Shanming.



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