Our changing climate is changing wine

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Whether you like red, white, or even a fruit wine, our changing climate is changing wine.

Kevin Moore co-owns Rock of Ages Winery near Roxboro and says over the years, he’s noticed a change in his growing season.

“We’ve seen a shift,” he says. “We’ve been growing grapes since 2003, so 18 years and we’ve seen it get wetter.”

Rain is also an issue closer to the coast, but Robert Smith says it’s not the only struggle for Country Squire Winery.

“This past year [it was] frost. Frost took out about 60 percent of our crop,” he explained.

Making wine needs a delicate balance of cool and warm weather, plus not too much rain.

The reality, however, is on average the growing season is getting warmer. This can be good for sweet wines, but not for wines that lean dry, or for white wines that need a cooler growing season.

“There’s a winery that instead of producing white wine they’re shifting into red wines,” explains sommelier Paula de Pano.

De Pano is opening a wine shop in Chapel Hill called Rocks and Acid in spring of 2022, and travels to wineries around the world. She says the growing season changes are not just an issue in the U.S.

“There will be shortages of it here and there, and it’s not as if the supply chain isn’t bad enough right now to get wines in, and then you also have the shortage of it,” de Pano explains.

Even as there will no doubt be some struggles for years to come, these local wineries want you to know they’ll still make wine for you to enjoy.

“The best part of growing grapes in North Carolina is making the wine,” Moore said. “People love North Carolina wines.”

“We put a lot of effort into each and every bottle of wine we make, so please, purchase and enjoy North Carolina wines,” Smith adds.

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