It's getting hotter ...
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
We've had very hot weather recently in France, with temperatures that approached 40C - a heat level we would normally expect to see in early August, rather than mid-June. There's been an increasing frequency of earlier heatwaves in recent years and since the early 2000s, they have worryingly become less of an anomaly. 2003 was well-documented as the hottest of years, but more recently, the heatwave of June 2017 and June-July 2019 were the most intense ever, with temperatures of up to 45C in the Languedoc. Reports say that this is the earliest heatwave ever recorded in France (since 1947), a worrying trend for vine growers across the country.
There are obvious concerns with heatwaves - water shortages and drought being a particular concern, as well as the risk of forest fires. It's not just in France either - Portugal is currently experiencing a severe drought and had the hottest May since 1931. Scientists consistently assert that the frequency and intensity of heatwaves is a result of climate change and although we are used to heat in the south of France, we have noticed changes in the intensity of and duration of heatwave spikes. It's been said that wine is like the canary in the mine, when it comes to climate change, as vines are so sensitive to changes in conditions.
Sustainable practices have always been inherent to what we do at Laurent Miquel. If you believe quality comes from the vineyard, then it makes sense to promote healthy and vibrant soils. However, the awareness of climate change drove us to take further action over the last 25 years. We are HVE level 3 certified, the highest level of certification with stringent environmental requirements. We use no artificial chemicals in the vineyards, carefully manage our use of water, promote biodiversity in our estates and preserve natural hedging and woodland. We built our lake at Auzines, so that we would have our own water source for drip irrigation during the growing season, something that will become more critical as temperatures rise. Our tanks are clad with insulation to reduce our energy use and we also reduced the average weight of our bottles by 33% - glass production and transport makes up over 50% of CO2 emissions from a winery.
We do all of this because it's the right thing to do for the planet and for our land. As an 8th generation family wine estate, we owe it to the next generation to leave a legacy and a wine tradition that they can take forward with pride.