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One of France’s greatest exports is at risk, and the climate is none other than global warming. Winemaking is largely dependent on terrior (a combination of land and weather) and with the varying weather conditions in the past years; it’s not surprising that the industry is slowly starting to feel the heat (so to speak). The Greenpeace study “The impacts of climate change on wine in France” outlines the volatility of the winemaking process and that small changes in weather can have greater impacts on the product. During the last few seasons, the grapes were harvested much earlier than usual, and the rising temperatures are causing damage to the vines.

Prominent members of the French wine industry have banded together to make their message heard – carbon emission must be reduced by 40% before the year 2020 for the age-old tradition to survive. They have petitioned French President Nicolas Sarcozy via an opinion piece in the French newspaper Le Monde, saying “We urge the president and environment minister of the world’s top wine-making nation to act with exemplarity at the Copenhagen talks…The jewels of our cultural heritage, French wines, elegant and refined, are today in danger…Our wines could lose their soul.”

By Maria Belgado