Wine and climate change are intimately linked. Indeed, global warming has many impacts that affect the Bordeaux vineyard and Château Cantenac Brown. The development of extreme events, rising temperatures, droughts are all elements to be taken into account in the vine management. Consequently, it is necessary to carry out adaptation actions in order to limit the effects of climate change on the wine. In the longer term, these actions guarantee the quality of the wines.
Wine and climate change: the facts
For several years now, climate change has been visible in the heart of the vineyards. For example, the harvest is getting earlier and earlier or our vines are being hit by climatic hazards that are more and more important and difficult to predict. These climatic hazards are difficult to predict and put a significant pressure on the vine management.
The phenomena of storms and climatic hazards are the most difficult to apprehend within a vineyard. Moreover, the difficulty in predicting them implies a continuous monitoring of the vineyard in order to take the necessary care of the vines.
How to adapt to climate change?
In the face of this climate change, we are conducting various initiatives. The inertia of climate change and the importance of time in the vineyard force us to undertake these initiatives today in order to achieve the expected results.
Adapting the vineyard’s grape varieties in the long term
To begin with, Château Cantenac Brown is mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. This grape variety is adapted to the current climatic conditions. However, the adaptation of the vineyard’s grape varieties is the first long-term project we have to carry out. Indeed, the vine planted today will only be able to begin to integrate the great wine of Château Cantenac Brown in several decades.
As such, we favour the planting of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon to the detriment of Merlot. These grape varieties thus allow a complete adaptation of our vineyard to the current climatic conditions. We are also considering the plantation of Petit Verdot in order to join our blend and adapt to the weather conditions and the imperatives of climate change.
Moreover, when planting the vine, it is also necessary to ensure the most suitable exposure. This allows the vine to receive sufficient warmth and sunshine to ensure a good maturity. However, it is now crucial to take care of the shaded areas.
Carry out eco-responsible actions
In addition to actions within the vineyard, it is also crucial to carry eco-responsible initiatives. Our new raw earth cellar is, thus, a particularly evocative and in every way exemplary example. First of all, as Philippe Madec points out, the use of raw earth and existing buildings reduces the impact of this construction on the environment. In addition, this new winery is designed to limit its energy needs. Whether through a climatic well or a shaded hall, this winery is built to adapt perfectly to the uses while limiting the impact on the environment.
On the other hand, the preservation of bio-diversity is crucial. In this sense, Château Cantenac Brown benefits from a park planted with trees that allows the preservation of certain tree species but also offers a refuge for the local fauna. The presence of sheep and lamb in the park of the Château also helps stimulating the local ecosystem.
Adapting vine management in the short term
If the vineyard’s planting is dependent on the long time of the vine, we can adapt the vine’s management in order to mitigate the impact of climate change. The latter allows a rapid adaptation to climatic hazards and weather conditions. For example, in case of strong heat, it is possible to thin out the leaves less on the vine. The foliar surface of the vine allows to create shadows and thus to protect the berries from too intense exposure to the sun.
In addition, it is also possible to adapt the rootstock in order to obtain individuals more resistant to intense weather conditions.
In other words, there are different technical solutions and initiatives that can reduce the impact of climate change on wine. These short-term technical changes are carried out in parallel with longer-term developments and actions to protect the environment.