It may be springtime for vintners in Germany.
As average temperatures there soared 1.4 degrees centigrade over the last 40 years, the country already famous for its crisp pilsners and Riesling white wines has become more hospitable to the hard-to-grow grapes used to make pinot noir. So the quality of spätburgunder ― as the Germans call it ― is rising.
Rising temperatures in France tend to produce early-ripening fruit, which is typically linked to highly rated wines, according to a study published in March by the journal Nature Climate Change.
“Before 1980, you basically needed a drought to generate the heat to get a really early harvest,” study co-author Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, told NPR at the time. “But since 1980, it’s been so warm because of climate change that you can get the hot summers and really early harvests without needing a drought.”
And not all German winemakers are cheering the change. Organic vineyards there were hit hard by a warm, wet summer that bred infections and blight not easily fought off without chemicals.
But the folks at the Weingut Friedrich Becker Estate in Schweigen, Germany, are celebrating the harvest of pinot noir grapes this year: