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How climate change is affecting the wine and champagne supply

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  • Lesley Stahl
    Lesley Stahl
    American journalist

On 60 Minutes Sunday night, correspondent Lesley Stahl visited Europe to find out how climate change and global warming is affecting the wine and champagne supply.

"What are the signs of global warming," asked Stahl. "Glaciers are melting at an increasingly rapid pace. Persistent droughts are spreading. Well, we have another to tell you about – wine. As in, what you probably cracked open for Christmas dinner."

According to Stahl, France, which has been a major center of winemaking for centuries, is experiencing increasingly higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions. This year, the country recorded its smallest harvest since 1957 and stands to lose more than $2 Billion in sales. As for vineyards around the world, many in North America and Australia were scorched in fires.

Fortunately, it's not all bad. Scientists are studying ways to adapt to the changing environmental conditions by introducing new grape varieties that can withstand warmer climates as well as creating new grapes via genetic breeding. Also, as it turns out, due to global warming and climate change, England is seeing warmer temperatures, which has made their wine better than ever.

Video transcript

[DIGITAL EFFECTS]

- What are the signs of global warming? Glaciers are melting at an increasingly rapid pace. Persistent droughts are spreading. Well, we have another to tell you about-- wine, as in what you probably cracked open for Christmas dinner.

- Some people still think climate change isn't real, and for those who are also wine lovers, well, they're about to get a rude awakening. On "60 Minutes" Sunday night, Lesley Stahl visited Europe to find out how climate change and global warming is affecting the wine and champagne supplies.

- A normal year, I produce around 40, 50,000 bottles.

LESLEY STAHL: This year?

- Zero. It's the first time in the history of my winery that we will not make champagne.

LESLEY STAHL: Not a single bottle from this winery?

- Yes.

- According to Stahl, France, which has been a major center of winemaking for centuries, is experiencing increasingly higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions. This year, the country recorded its smallest harvest since 1957 and stands to lose more than $2 billion in sales. As for vineyards around the world, many in North America and Australia were scorched in fires.

But it's not all bad. Scientists are studying ways to adapt by introducing new grape varieties that can withstand warmer climates, as well as creating new grapes via genetic breeding.

- All together, with new varieties, new growing practices I think we can cope with climate change, at least until the middle of the 21st century.

- Also, as it turns out, due to global warming and climate change, England is seeing warmer temperatures, which has made their wine better than ever.

- We are in the UK. Now are now where Champagne was 30 or 40 years ago. The climate has shifted in 30 or 40 years.

LESLEY STAHL: So the climate right now where you and I are sitting in England is the same as the climate was 40 years ago in France.

- In Champagne.

LESLEY STAHL: In Champagne, France.

- Yeah.

[DIGITAL EFFECTS]

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