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Climate change could alter the taste of cava, says study


Climate change could harm the flavour of cava, new research implies.


Warmer and drier conditions could mean that the grapes used to produce the popular Spanish sparkling wine will ripen faster, subsequently impairing the drink's taste, aroma and overall quality.

Produced in a similar manner to champagne, the Catalonian wine consists of a blend of white grapes grown natively in the north-eastern Spanish region that are renowned for their creamy, rich taste.

Published in the journal of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, the study analysed the harvest timings and yield in a Catalonian vineyard between 1998 and 2012 and focused on two main grape varieties used to produce cava: Macabeo and Paralleda.

The author of the study then created a mathematical model which simulated how the different grapes were likely to grow under the conditions dictated by climate change.

Under a moderate warming scenario, the average temperature during the grape growing season could go up 3.2degrees Celcius by 2020.

This number rises significantly if global greenhouse emissions aren't controlled - increasing to 4.4 degrees Celcius.

Warmer temperatures and drier conditions caused by global warming are also likely to cause water deficits in the vineyards, meaning that more moisture will be lost from the land through evapotranspiration.

This will significantly impact the wine's flavour, as exposure to higher climes during ripening is also likely to make the cava taste more acidic and sugary, as well as becoming more alcoholic.

The UK's thirst for sparkling wines has soared in recent years.

According to figures published by HM Revenue and Customs, the rising popularity of prosecco and cava has caused an 80 per cent rise in sparkling wine sales in the last five years.

Plus, fizz sales in Britain have sky-rocketed from 17.6 million gallons in 2011 to 31.6m gallons in 2016, according to research published by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.



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