S3E10: How a Warming Climate Is Changing Wine—with Paul Wagner, wine educator and lecturer

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The Rhône Valley of France is famous for its Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier grapes (among others), while Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cab Franc (et al!) are grown in Bordeaux. And these wine grapes have thrived in their respective regions for centuries.

But what happens when rising temperatures change the kinds of grapes that can be grown in a particular area?

How is the climate crisis changing the way wine is produced? And what can we do as consumers to promote sustainability among winemakers?

Paul Wagner is a Viticulture and Winery Technology Instructor at Napa Valley College and Cohost of Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul. He also serves as guest lecturer at multiple universities in Europe and the US and offers several wine-related courses as part of The Great Courses lecture series.

On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Paul joins Ross to explain what attracts him to the artistry and experience of winemaking, exploring what makes wine grapes sweeter than any other fruit and how they give you a sense of both place and time.

Paul describes how climate is changing the way wine is made everywhere in the world, discussing what winemakers are doing to avoid rising temperatures and how the climate crisis might influence the evolution of wine in places like Bordeaux and Rhone.

Listen in for insight on how climate informs the alcohol content in wine and get Paul’s advice for the environmentally conscious on choosing a wine you like—and then finding a winemaker who’s working toward carbon neutrality.

(Wine is discussed for its own sake for the first twenty or so minutes. If you want to skip right to the intersection with climate, it begins at 24:32.)

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Resources

Bottle Talk with Rick & Paul

Bottle Talk on CapRadio

Paul Wagner Wine

Paul on The Great Courses

Robert Mondavi

Napa Valley College Viticulture & Winery Technology Department

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Decanter World Wine Awards

Familia Torres: Wine & Climate Change

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

Hugh Johnson

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