Talk of climate change is usually a downer, especially when it comes to discovering what a warming planet will do to food and drink supplies—i.e., making your food more expensive and wiping out pollinators like bees.

However, there are some sliver linings (albeit brief and ultimately unfortunate) to rising temperatures. The Washington Post mentions that earlier grape harvests resulting from climate change are making wines taste better. The paper spoke with the authors of the study, which was published in Nature Climate Change, about what they found:

“…harvest dates are getting much earlier, and all the evidence points to it being linked to climate change,” study author Elizabeth Wolkovich of Harvard said in a statement. She and her team examined over 500 years of French harvest records to draw their conclusions. “Especially since 1980, when we see a major turning point for temperatures in the northern hemisphere, we see harvest dates across France getting earlier and earlier,” she said.

As oenophiles know, the most prized grapes are early grapes, and the Post notes that harvests “happening an average of two weeks earlier than they did in the 400 years preceding 1980.”

Of course, there’s an upper-limit for that threshold when earlier harvests and higher temperatures don’t produce better wine. In fact, once a certain temperature increase occurs, it could change the actual identity of wine itself.

This might mean that grapes have to shift around to new regions to find their ideal climate. In France, that could pose a big problem: Certain French wines, such as Champagne, have to follow rules about where and how their grapes are grown.


For many wine-makers, changing these rules is tantamount to changing the identity of the wine,” Agence France-Presse reported

Savor that next-level vino while you can—wine could look significantly different in the decades to come.

[via Washington Post]