Champagne, the area of France which produces the fizz that accompanies celebration, is under the climate change microscope.
As France prepares to host the COP 21 the Champagne region is monitoring the effects of climate change and introducing a different modus operandi to protect the harvest.
Jean-Pierre Vazart is a producer: “The thing you can be sure about is that the date of the harvest is never the same, and that it can change dramatically over a short period of time. 2003 is an example of a very early harvest, the first time we picked the grapes in August and then just a few years later in 2013, ten years later, we picked the grapes in October. So climate change is here, we can see it, and from time to time we can see big variations.”
To combat the hot and dry weather winemakers are adopting new techniques to preserve the grape crop.
A major change is the switch from chemical fertilisers to a more eco-friendly organic version.
Vincent Perrin is from the Champagne Wines Committee: “In Champagne, we have reduced the workload in the vineyard by more than 50 percent. We have gradually swapped chemical fertilizers for natural fertilizers. Those chemical fertilizers had a strong greenhouse effect because they used nitrogen but today they have been swapped for natural fertilizers.”
Researchers say they have plans to combat a three degree rise in temperature.
However with 15,000 winemakers in the region, getting the message across will take some time.