OnThe banks of Cuisance RiverIn eastern France, found between the ancient stone homes of the Arboiscommune, small groups of wine lovers sat under the autumn sun, sipping on chardonnay or trousseau, both grown in the foothills at the foot of the JuraMountains, one of the most loved and small wine regions in the world France.
ForMany of the AmericanTourists visiting the area recently OctoberIt was their first excursion to the countryside. EuropeSince the coronavirus pandemic closed last year’s borders. HuddledThey marked potential destinations for their next tastings with palpable excitement, instead of using maps and guidebooks. ButIn the nearby vineyards, the annual grape harvest was completed recently, there was a somber mood.
AsIn this meeting, business and government leaders meet ScotlandFor a subsequent United NationsClimate Conference, Winegrowers in JuraThey are now feeling the effects on their livelihoods. TheyWe have been dealing with record crop losses due to frost, hail, and higher temperatures. This is all because of climate change. TheseExtreme weather conditions have exacerbated over the past five year, leading to despair and suicides. Locals worry about how they will preserve the unique qualities of their wines if their grape harvests fail repeatedly.
“We lost 85 percent of our crop compared to last year,” said Fabrice Dodane, 49, owner of Domaine de Saint-Pierre, a small wine producer specializing in organic viticulture. “It is truly a disaster, and people are angry because there is so much demand but not enough wine to sell.”
DespiteBeing one of France’s smallest wine regions, spanning just over 50 miles and representing only 0.2 percent of the country’s wine production, JuraThe economy of the country is heavily dependent on winemaking. Its wines have received increasing international recognition in recent years. The area’s diverse soilAnd grape varieties have produced boundless shades and styles, but its organic, natural and sparkling wines have grown particularly popular in New York, Tokyo, Copenhagen and London.
Jura’s semi-continental climate, traditionally defined by cold winters and dry, warm summers, has created the wines’ distinctive properties. ButWeather has become increasingly unpredictable since 2015. One of the most dramatic changes has been the warmer winter temperatures, causing vine buds to break — or open — early, leaving them exposed to frost, which can destroy the vines in one night. “When the winters were cold, the vines would sleep through the frost, but now with the warmer winters, they wake too early and become vulnerable,” said Gabriel DietrichDirector of Fruitiere Vinicole ArboisThe largest cooperative, with 100 wineries, in the Jura region.
ButIn 2021 JuraAlmost daily, we were subject to severe weather conditions.
“ThisThis year, we experienced terrible frost in AprilIf you are lucky, then hail in June, followed by a horrible cold summer with lots of rain that caused disease in the vineyards and rotted the grapes,” Mr. Dietrich said.
The Fruitiere Vinicole ArboisSince 2017, the country has seen a steady decline of its output. WhileThe cooperative usually produces approximately 475,000 gallons or 18,000 Hectoliters of wine after a normal harvest. However, its 2017 yield was more than half at 185,000 gallons. ItThe volume of 2021’s shipments was only 119,000 gallons.
“WeThe world is in crisis Jura; we’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr. Dietrich said. “Some winegrowers weren’t even able to harvest this year, because they had nothing.”
DrivingThrough the narrow and winding roads ArboisThe low morale of the vignerons in the surrounding villages could be seen in the rows of vines that glow in orange and red shades. OneThe winemaker sank down on a log and looked out aimlessly at the field while he smoked a cigarette. Another winemaker sat in a tractor and shook his head at tourists who were approaching to indicate that there wasn’t any ripe wine.
“Coming out here, we had hoped to meet some of the winemakers and taste their wines, but it seems that most of them aren’t in the mood for visitors,” said Matthew Myers67, a retired security analyst MaineWho was visiting? ArboisAfter a two week wine tour of the larger regions, he and his wife returned home to be with their children. BurgundyNearby regions
“WeYou knew the French were struggling with changing climates, but we didn’t realize how bad it was until we got to Jura,” he said. “YouYou can feel the difference by comparing different vintages. Yesterday I tried a chardonnay from 2019 and then from 2020 and there was a big difference.”
The2018 was a year of favorable weather conditions in the region, which wine experts claim produced some outstanding wines. YetDue to high demand and limited crop, prices have risen and certain labels like the 2018 have been discontinued. Pierre Overnoy Arbois-Pupillin PoulsardThese are not easy to find. ThisWinegrowers are under tremendous pressure to maintain production and many are struggling just to survive.
FourAdmired FrenchThis year, winemakers died. OneThey are all there. Pascal ClairetThis is Domaine de la TournelleThe legendary figure of organic viniculture was, ArboisSome of the best natural wines have been produced in the area over the past twenty years. HisThe death of a local resident shocked the region.
“The Jura is an extreme example because it is this tiny region that offers a breadth of range and particularity, and the second a certain cuvée gets good press coverage, there is suddenly this huge interest and not enough to go around, which puts an immense burden on the winegrowers,” said Wink Lorch, author of “Jura Wine” and a wine expert who has been studying the region for more than 20 years.
“InIn the 2000s, there was a lot of effort. Jura winemakers to attract export sales and, related to this, the wine-aficionado tourists from overseas,” she said. “Now that has almost backfired, with all the weather problems and the success of their wines.”
HighLow yields, high costs and bureaucracy TheObstacles to experimentation
TheHowever, the impact of climate change has not been completely detrimental to winemaking, especially for red grape varieties such as pinot noir that benefit from warmer summers. WhenWhen a bud is broken early and exposed to heat from sunlight, the grape’s ripening process accelerates. This gives it a nice color as well as a good amount tannins. Jacques HaullerManaging Director of the facility Domaine Maire & FilsOne of the largest wine estates in the country is. Jura area.
“InThis is how global heating helped us tremendously. We were able make pinot noir that was awarded in the U.K. France,” he said. “Usually this region is not known for high-level pinot noir.”
Domaine Maire & FilsIt covers more than 490 acres, and has consistently produced wine from it. JuraEven this year, the region lost around 40 to 50% of its crop compared with 2020. In one room of the company’s winery, around 300,000 bottles of wine were stacked high, maturing for three to 20 months before being shipped to global markets.
“This year we had lots of problems with our organic production because there was a lot of mildew and disease,” Mr. HaullerShe pointed out rows upon rows of Chardonnay vines in one of the estate’s flat plains. “Of course, it’s much harder for individual or smaller producers who have a few parcels. Some of them lost everything.”
VigneronsLike Mr. FabriceAlthough some have tried to protect their crops from frost damage by using warm wind machines and bales of straw, many people are unhappy with the results and the high costs.
SomeWinemakers are open to trying new grape varieties that are more resistant to changing weather patterns. FranceIt is very strict about what grape varieties are allowed to be grown in wine areas. The country’s regulatory body, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, has tweaked rules in recent years to allow for research and development of new varieties for climate adaptation, but the process is arduous and slow and it could take years before new variations are approved, winemakers say.
“It’s quite complicated and will take time,” Mr. Hauller said. “I share the opinion with many other winemakers that the impact of global heating is faster than our process.”
AsThey seek long-term solutions, which is why winemakers in Jura are increasingly opening trade companies and purchasing other grape varieties so that they can make “Vin de France,” FrenchWines that are not labeled according to region or appellation.
“WeHave to make Vin de France to pay for our expenses,” said Mr. Dodane. “I’m an optimist and I’m hopeful for 2022, but if it continues like this, how will we continue to make Jura wine? I really don’t know.”
Source: NY Times