If you had forgotten about climate change while living in Argentina (inflation and poverty tend to steal center stage), then recent events have been a cruel reminder of this existential threat.
Not only has vicious flooding destroyed 80% of Comodoro Rivadavia in the country’s south, now even Argentine’s beloved wine industry has taken a hit.
Wine production in Argentina fell 29% last year, or 9.4 mhl, according to Paris’s International Organization of Wine and Vine, which attributed the drop to climate change. This made Argentina the third most affected country in the world, behind Brazil (-55%) and Hungary (-38%), who have much smaller industries.
In order to feel this unique pain, I invite you to consider that the above news means less of the following.
Indeed, it means precisely 940 million liters less, which is to say more than 940 million bottles less.
Local growers confirmed the bad news.
Laura Alturria, from the Enological Technical Commission (enology is the study of wine), said the “fall in production clearly has to do with a climatic question”, in an interview with Clarin. She said that the 2016 harvest was the lowest in 50 years.
El Niño would seem to be the main culprit. This weather phenomenon (which causes the warming of ocean waters off South America’s pacific coast) causes frosts, rains and a fungal outbreak which meant less grapes on each vine.
Alturria suggested the new normal is reduced production. She says this this year “we are hoping for a harvest of 18 million quintals (*1 quintal = 100kg), but the average over the last ten years was 24 or 26 million. We are far from a ‘normal harvest’. Perhaps we have to start considering what our new reality is.”
The only upside? Adversity produces a delicious glass of wine. With less grapes to sustain, the vines produce fruitier, more fragrant wines.
Of course, by the laws of economics you’ll have to fork out more money to enjoy the taste. So perhaps this means you’ll have little choice but to go for tetra (aka goon, aka cask wine). It’ll be just like college.