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What climate change might do to your favorite wine

If terroir is the unique character of a place, including its weather, captured in a wine bottle, how might climate change alter the wines we drink?  ( Photo: iStock)Premium
If terroir is the unique character of a place, including its weather, captured in a wine bottle, how might climate change alter the wines we drink?  ( Photo: iStock)
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Many oenophiles take particular pleasure in teasing out the nuances of terroir, the specific combination of soil, topography and climate that makes a wine unique. But what happens when extreme weather events and rising temperatures hit a wine region?

The French term terroir has been defined in various ways—and called undefinable, too—but it’s generally understood to denote a combination of soil, topography and climate that gives a wine its particular character. With so many wine regions flooded or on fire in recent months and years, I’ve wondered: Does this change their terroir?

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