New grapes in old French regions

The first steps are already being taken to introduce new, climate-appropriate grapes in French regions. Roger Morris reports.

Grapes at Ducourt, Bordeaux
Grapes at Ducourt, Bordeaux

The year is 2037, and your 21-year-old daughter is pulling the cork on that 2016 Méo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot birth year wine you bought her back in 2019. As the two of you share the rich flavours, you can’t resist telling stories about the days when Pinot Noir was the only red grape grown on the Côte d’Or, a time when no one there made red blends.

It’s a scenario that French winegrowers are in the midst of planning for. Although governments elsewhere may be in denial about global warming, many in France are firmly convinced that, after years of indecision, their classic varieties will need to be blended with grapes from more heat-hardy and disease-resistant varieties – or possibly be replaced by them. Hallowed terroirs are being reimagined.


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