Oh Mon Dieu! The World Might Run Out of (Good) French Wine

Thanks, climate change.

Wine lovers beware: Your favorite French vintages might not be around for much longer, according to a March 2016 study published in Nature Climate Change.

Researchers from NASA and Harvard University examined 500 years of French wine harvest records to see how they've changed over time and found that harvests now occur (on average) two weeks earlier than they used to. Why? The researchers believe it's because climate change continues to raise temperatures.

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Usually, an earlier harvest creates a higher-quality wine, but scientists worry that harvests will begin earlier and earlier until eventually the wine isn't good at all. The researchers point to the year 2003 as an example: When a massive heat wave hit France, it resulted in the earliest grape harvest in 500 years and produced not-so-great wines.

"You want to harvest when the grapes are perfectly ripe, when they've had enough time to accumulate just the right balance between acid and sugar," lead researcher Elizabeth Wolkovich, PhD, said in a statement. "At the heart of a good wine is climate, so (the grapes) are a very good canary in the coal mine."

The study does have some limitations, including that the scope is quite wide. Not all of France is the same, and location has a great deal to do with the quality of the grapes that go into your drink, so different vineyards will be affected differently over time. But it's still bad news for people who want nothing but the best in their Burgundy. Better start stocking up!

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