83% of the World’s vineyards are irrigated. With drought being a growing concern in many regions of the world and the projected increase in population, water resources for wine production is likely to be limited. How sustainable is it to irrigate and which measures can be taken by producers to reduce water usage in the vineyard and the winery? Michelle Bouffard, founder of Tasting Climate Change, shares the available solutions for a sustainable future.
Originally from Quebec, Michelle moved to Vancouver to complete her Bachelor of Music degree in classical trumpet where she unexpectedly ventured into wine while working in a fine dining restaurant. Determined to make her mark in the wine industry, she graduated as a sommelier with the highest honours from the International Sommelier Guild in 2003 and completed the Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in 2005.
Michelle was the co-owner of house wine from 2003 to 2015, a highly regarded company based in Vancouver that specialized incellar management and educational events. She also founded and was also the president of British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
Michelle now lives and teaches WSET courses in Montreal and gives numerous training sessions including for wine associations such as Inter Rhône, Wines of Portugal, Wines of New Zealand and Wine Australia. She works closely with the nursery Lilian Bérillon located in the Rhone Valley acting as a wine educator and ambassador.
Michelle first book “Dis-moi qui tu es, je te dirai quoi boire” was published by Cardinal Editions in 2017, and has contributed to the recipe book “Le Secret des Vietnamiennes” by Kim Thùy. For the past five years, she has been the sommelier on the popular Quebec cooking show Curieux Bégin. She also writes for Quench, Véro and Meininger’s Wine Business International magazines and can be heard on the radio show of Pénélope on CBC radio.
In 2017, Michelle founded Tasting Climate Change, an international symposium to explore the challenges and solutions in the wine industry. In 2018, Urbania Magazine recognized her work by selecting her as one of 50 extraordinary Quebecers.
Michelle is often invited to sit on various panels and judges at numerous wine competitions in Canada and abroad. Ever the eternal perfectionist, she is continuing her studies at the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine.
Climate is a pervasive factor in the success of all agricultural systems, influencing whether a crop is suitable to a given region, largely controlling crop production and quality, and ultimately driving economic sustainability. Climate’s influence on agribusiness is never more evident than with viticulture and wine production where climate is arguably the most critical aspect in ripening fruit to optimum characteristics to produce a given wine style.
This webinar will provide an overview of regional to global research on: 1) aspects of terroir that influences optimum quality and production characteristics; 2) the suitability of different winegrape cultivars to different climates; 3) how climate variability influences production and quality variations; 4) how climate change has and will likely continue to alter the global wine region map; and 5) measures being taken by the wine sector to mitigate and adapt to changes in climate.
Greg is a world-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist, having held research and teaching positions at the University of Virginia, Southern Oregon University, Linfield University, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide. He has taught extensively across many areas including meteorology, climatology, ecology, hydrology, geology, statistics, GIS and remote sensing, and wine business, viticulture, enology, and sensory evaluation.
For over twenty-five years his research has firmly linked weather and climate with grapevine growth, fruit chemistry, and wine characteristics in regions all around the globe. His work was also one of the first to tie climate change to fundamental biological phenomena in vines and the resulting influences on productivity and quality, informing and influencing the wine industry worldwide. Greg has served on the editorial advisory boards of multiple international and national scientific journals and organizations and serves as a Director on the Oregon Wine Board and the Erath Family Foundation board.
He was named to Decanter Magazine’s 2009 Power List representing the top 50 most influential people in the world of wine, named the Oregon Wine Press’s 2009 Wine Person of the Year, has been named in the Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders in Wine Business Monthly in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and has been in the top 100 most influential people in the US wine industry in 2012, 2013, and 2018 (intowine.com). He was also bestowed the Honorary Confrade with the Rank of Infanção (Nobleman) from the Confraria do Vinho do Porto and installed as a knight in the Oregon Wine Brotherhood. He had the pleasure of appearing on CBS 60 Minutes in December 2021 in a segment called "Effects of climate change taking root in the wine industry".
He serves as a Director on the Oregon Wine Board and on the boards of the Erath Family Foundation, the Society for International Terroir Experts, the Porto Protocol, the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, and the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association. He is honored to hold adjunct professor positions at Southern Oregon University and the University of Adelaide. Dr. Jones also has lifelong ties to the Oregon wine community, most closely with his family winery and vineyards at Abacela where Greg was appointed CEO in 2021. To find out more about his research and access videos, podcasts, and publications visit this website (www.climateofwine.com).
No topic matters more for the future of wine than climate change. Will the world’s great wine terroirs be lost? Can we save them, and mitigate the effects of climate change? By intervention, irrigation and regenerative farming? Is it time for all wine regions to explore alternative varieties? Will wine growing in general move up-latitude or up-altitude? Is the era of glass bottles ending?
Listen to and engage with our panel as they tackle these and other questions in our Meeting of the Minds – Climate Change.
Andrew Jefford, WSG's Academic Advisor will be joined by:
Michelle Bouffard, formerly a classical trumpet player, has worked in wine for the last 20 years as a sommelier, educator, journalist and broadcaster. In recent years she has specialised in questions of climate change in the wine world, having founded the Tasting Climate Change symposium in 2017.
Dr Greg Jones, world-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist, formerly worked at the Universities of Virginia, Southern Oregon and Linfield and is now CEO of Abacela Vineyards and Winery in the Southern Oregon region of Umpqua Valley, originally founded by his parents Hilda and Earl Jones.
Josep Maria Ribas Portella studied engineering and sustainable energy systems in Catalonia and Sweden and is now the Director of Climate Change for Familia Torres. His role there involves both climate change mitigation and adaptation for the company as well as raising awareness and fostering collaboration with partner businesses both inside and outside the wine sector.
Have you ever tasted a Souvignier Gris, a Solaris or a Bronner? What about Regent, Cabernet Cortis or Rösler? These are just some of the disease-resistant varieties that have been bred over the last few decades from complex crossings of vitis vinifera cultivars with American sub-species such as vitis labrusca, vitis riparia or vitis rupestris.
What started as a crude exercise in creating new plant material in the wake of the turn-of-the-century phylloxera catastrophe has become a cutting-edge niche in wine production. Varieties are being developed that have resistance to cold, drought, or to common vine ailments such as downy mildew and botrytis. This has opened the door to a form of viticulture that requires almost no inputs apart from pruning.
Should we call these varieties hybrids or PIWIs or something else? And how is a hybrid different to a crossing or a “direct producer”? Does laboratory crossing of grape varieties overlap with gene-splicing, CRISPR9 or GMOs? Where are the boundary lines in these techniques and what do they mean for viticulture and wine in general?
We’ll talk about why winemakers from France, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and beyond are planting hybrids. Hybrids might just be the future in wine. So join me for this session if you want to stay ahead of the curve!
Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English author and wine writer, currently based in The Netherlands.
An acknowledged expert on the developing niche of natural wine, he's written for Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.
Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns.
Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking. His second book, Foot Trodden, a collaboration with photographer and wine communicator Ryan Opaz, was published in October 2021. It is described as a journey deep into the soul of Portuguese wine.
Simon is also active as a presenter, editor, wine judge and translator.
Thirty years ago, Nicolás Catena pioneered high-altitude viticulture in Argentina.
While searching for elegance and concentration, the Catena family found a strategy that today can be used for combatting climate change: "go higher". Malbec, Argentina’s leading red varietal was in decline and being pulled out.
Today, high-altitude Malbec has led to the rebirth of Argentine wine on the world stage. Ungrafted vines and ancient pre-phylloxera vine selections have something to do with this wine revolution. Join us to learn about how the Catena Institute of Wine uses science to preserve the culture and nature behind wine.
Dr Laura Catena is a Harvard and Stanford-trained biologist and physician, founder of the Catena Institute of Wine in Argentina, and managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata (Est. 1902). Since 1995, the Catena Institute has helped to elevate the Malbec varietal and Argentine wine as a whole. Under Laura’s leadership, Bodega Catena Zapata has earned six 100-point wine ratings and was voted the most awarded world winery by VIVINO WINE STYLE AWARDS. Laura is author of three books, “Vino Argentino,” “Gold in the Vineyards” and the upcoming “Malbec mon amour.” She lives with her husband and three children between Mendoza, Argentina, and San Francisco, California, where she volunteers as a street physician with the Department of Public Health.
Rick's Pick: University of Tarragona instructor and winemaker, Antoni Sanchez-Ortiz focuses on climate change and how viticulture must adapt in Spain’s DOQ Priorat region.
The mesoclimate determines climatic differences due to the topography of the Priorat and that give rise to local modifications or changes that can affect to more or less ample extensions. Factors that condition them include distance to the sea, altitude, orientation, exposure, and latitude. Between nearby municipalities, noticeable differences in temperature, precipitation, insolation and thermal amplitude can be seen, which affect the processes of growth, bud breaking, fruit formation, ripening and, ultimately, the composition of grapes. The prediction of an interval of concentrations of color and tannins would be of utmost importance to define qualities and styles of wine, given the great inter-parcel variability observed in plots of Grenache and Carignan vines within the Priorat DOQ.
Here is his bio, as narrated by Antoni:
I was born in December 4th, 1978 into a family with few financial resources in a small valley in the Spain’s Pyrenees. Although my parents never had the chance to go to school, I had some talent to study science and so continued my studies until college. After five years in college, I majored in analytical chemistry and more particularly to assess the degree of chemistry in the University of Barcelona. After I worked in corrosion of automobile engines and intercoolers using the Swaat Tecnique, at Frape Behr. Quickly I moved into the development of a GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy) methods to determine fatty acid composition from raw materials (mainly palm and coconut oil), where I worked at Henkel Düsseldorf plant in Germany for one year after obtaining a scholarship.
It was there almost by chance where I took a course of wine tasting and there began my interest in the discovery of quality wines. Consequently I fell in love with fine wines. In the following years, after studying enology within the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain) and the University Victor Segalen in Bordeaux. I graduated as a winemaker at 23 years of age. For 18 years now I have worked full time within the demanding context of producing world-class wines, both as a winemaker and as a viticulturist in the renowned appellation of Priorat,Spain. For many years I have also worked closely with the renowned French consulting enologist Claude Gross, and have travelled to California to study the Pinot Noir blending techniques of Sea Smoke Cellars, the acclaimed Pinot Noir producer near Santa Barbara, California. I like obtaining outstanding fine wines with a unique personality, making a superb red wine in the Priorat wine growing region, as an expression of varietal and site showcases the best which region’s true native character. Currently, with the consulting company I am also committed to producing one of the high-end, handmade organic olive oil in Spain’s Pyrennees. My conviction that great wine results from an intimate knowledge of the land arises from additional experience in vineyard management and climate warming studies as a PhD candidate with the Viticulture Department at the Faculty of Enology in Tarragona.