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How to winemakers combat excessive heat?	Photo: Rosily Vineyard, Margaret River

What does an unexpected heatwave mean for vineyards – and how do winemakers tackle it…?

Winemakers need to know how to tackle unexpected heat, as shown by the recent ‘Lucifer’ heatwave hitting southern Europe, and record-breaking high temperatures in Oregon and down the US west coast.

Global warming may result in labour and productivity losses in the European wine industry.

We all know that global warming will trigger sea level rises, and cause mass disruption to our civilisation on a worldwide scale.

But there’s a more imminent danger which will leave some drinkers gasping - rising temperatures are disrupting wine production, threatening wine supplies from hotter countries.

According to the latest figures from English Wine Producers, there are 503 commercial vineyards and 133 wineries currently producing 5 million bottles of wine in England.

English Sparkling Wine is having a moment. What was once Champagne’s invitation-only pool party, attended exclusively by the world’s most finely honed palates, is now being invaded by cannon balling English sparkling wine producers.

This is thanks to a number of fortuitous elements coming together to create a right-time, right-place kind of scenario.

The soil of Champagne is riddled with chemical residue.

Intensive agricultural practices are causing concern as chemicals reach the water table.

A hot, dry summer has left pesticide levels in Champagne's groundwater at dangerous levels, according to a local study, raising fears about the region's water quality.

On stage, from left: Harvard's John Holdren, Bodegas Torres' Miguel Torres, Wine Spectator's Dana Nigro, Gaja's Gaia Gaja and Hall's Kathryn Hall.

Miguel Torres, Gaia Gaja, Kathryn Hall and Harvard professor John Holdren take the stage at 'Fire and Rain' environmental panel.

Wine Spectator kicked off Vinexpo, the international wine-trade fair held biennially in Bordeaux, on Sunday by gathering experts and industry pioneers to tackle one of the most critical issues facing the global wine community: climate change. Senior editor Dana Nigro served as moderator for "Fire and Rain: Climate Change and the Wine Industry," a lively and thought-provoking discussion of the environmental issues facing vintners today and in the future.

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