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Climate Change Leading To Higher Alcohol Content In Wine?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--The earth's climate is always changing and many businesses have to adapt to the differences that arise. One of those businesses is the wine industry.

Climate issues and wine are not typically two topics that we would lump together but we should.

There is a consensus among the wine producing community that the seasons and the climate are becoming more unpredictable.

"Until the year 2000 I could really see the progress of the winter and the spring and I could pretty much guess the season coming. After the year 2000, you throw your arms out," said Joseph Maxian, with the Sand Castle Winery.

In general many producers believe temperatures are rising, leading to changes in harvest times here in the Philadelphia region.

"We are consistently harvesting our grapes earlier than we were about 10 years ago, because we are seeing more early ripeness," said Sean Comninos, with Wine Maker Heritage Vineyards.

The largest change that wine drinkers are likely to see is higher alcohol contents in the finished product and there is much discussion on if this is a good or bad change.

"You get a lot of sugar ripeness in the grapes as things get warmer but you don't get a lot of phenolic ripeness to the skins, this means you have wines with lots of alcohol but no length," said David Moore, Moore Brother's Wine Company.

Regardless of what wine makers or wine drinkers believe when it comes to changes in the climate across the globe one thing does seem to be clear.

"You correlate everything because your goal is produce top quality wine," Maxian said.

This Friday when you head out to happy hour, take an extra second to think about the weather and how it affects everything even the glass of wine your hand.


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