The planet is hot: even grapes get sunburned

Landeras, France | Some very popular grapes from southwest France may be threatened by climate change, while the heat wave of the past few days has burned many grapes.

• Read also: European heat wave: evacuees fear it’s just the beginning

“We have been through a period of extreme drought for several months, we have no water and we wonder how the vines are resistant. The young vineyards suffer a lot and we can see them because the heights of the plants are not normal,” explains Isabel Boix, owner of the Château de Aricod wine estate, south of Bordeaux, in Landeras.

We see, in red, grapes bruised from the sun and heat.

Clara Loiso’s photo

We see, in red, grapes bruised from the sun and heat.

In her vineyards alleys, planted in 2017, the winemaker sadly notes that the heat has abused her farms.

“With the sun and the heat, these grapes got sunburned,” she drops, holding a small handful.

the wind that spins

For Joel Ortiz, wine advisor at the Antennas Associations for Agricultural and Rural Development (ADAR) in Gironde, it is clear that global warming is having a direct impact on the farms.

“There will be losses during the harvest, that’s for sure, but the losses shouldn’t be too big right now,” he explains.

In addition to the heat waves that have occurred in the past few days and where the mercury has exceeded 40 degrees Celsius at times, it is the milder winters that completely change the life cycle of the vine.

“The plants are out of their vegetative state early and when we see the April frosts, they do a lot of damage to the buds. […] Harvest starts early and sooner. Right now we are 15 days, even three weeks earlier a year than it was fifteen years ago,” Mr. Ortiz also notes.

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lose your identity

For the latter, it is clear that changes must occur in the way it works.

“We are considering new solutions, such as weeding vines to delay soil warming at the end of winter, or even reducing vine pruning so that leaves better protect plants in extreme heat,” he explains. -e.

Ultimately, we will also have to think about adapting the plants, notably by installing, for example, new varieties of grapes that are found in the southeast of the country that are used in this heat, he believes.

For Loïc Pasquet, winemaker and owner of the Liber Pater estate, some of which sells coffee for 30,000 euros a bottle, the solutions mentioned by Mr. Ortiz are by no means enough.

“We will have to relearn how to be grape growers, by looking at what has been done before and using current knowledge. We must be allowed to reintroduce the old grape varieties in Bordeaux and above all to better feed them.” “We have to try all methods before considering using other grapes, otherwise we risk losing our Bordeaux identity,” warns Mr. Baskett.

Fire scars are visible

Nearly twelve days after the battle against the fires raging in southwestern France, smoke could still be seen billowing in a few places, and he managed to see it. Newspaper.

Until yesterday, some French villages were banned in this corner of France. Nearly 30,000 people are still unable to return home.

The police were still blocking the main entrances.

All day long, two magmatic planes were flying back and forth over the Forest of Lands to continue pouring water on the hot spots still lingering in the forest.

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However, it was possible to see the damage left by the fire in Landeras, by walking down a small dirt road well known to the locals.

deserted forest

Vegetation has given way to ash in this wooded land of Landeras.

Clara Loiso’s photo

Vegetation has given way to ash in this wooded land of Landeras.

For miles, trunks black due to soot follow each other. On Earth, vegetation turns to ash.

“The problem is that no one takes care of or preserves these forests, so it should come as no surprise that when the fire starts, it burns,” says Loïc Pasquet, vineyard and property owner Liber Pater, in Landiras, in the Gironde.

By placing your hand on it, you can still feel the heat coming from the ground.

The smell of burning pine trees was still scattered in the air in some places around the village.

“I saw the fire start on July 12, it was a few hundred meters from my vineyard. Mr. Baskett explained that the flames rose to the tops of the trees.

Before being evacuated, Mr. Pasquet made sure to make firewalls to save his vineyards from fire. There was no loss in the generosity aspect.

Climate crisis and humanitarian crisis in Europe

Follow journalist Clara Loiso, who is passing through Europe, over the next few days, to witness the effects of the unprecedented heat wave hitting the old continent, as a direct result of global warming. Temperature records have triggered a climate and humanitarian crisis, including fires ravaging areas, people being driven from their homes, workers dying of heat on the job, and local economies hard hit.

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