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Sauvignon Blanc next for northern Europe

Sauvignon Blanc could thrive in northern Europe if average climate temperatures continue to rise, a conference has heard.

Speaking at the first World Sauvignon Congress, held last month in Graz, Austria, vineyard consultant Dr Richard Smart repeated a prediction that has become all-too familiar.

‘Within 50 years, a 1–2º C increase in [the average] temperature will have occurred,’ Smart said, in reference to an estimate made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ‘And things will worsen in the northern hemisphere.’

Smart added in a post-conference interview, ‘Sauvignon Blanc is a medium-low temperature grape, which means that a region now growing this varietal may want to plant a high-temperature variety like Viognier in the future.

‘In 10-20 years, Sauvignon Blanc could be good for England and Denmark. It is already planted in Germany.’

The four-day Congress gathered together more than 240 international wine researchers, producers, and trade and journalism professionals to closely examine Sauvignon Blanc’s role as one of the world´s most widely planted white grape varieties.

Besides climate, other aspects of the varietal were discussed, including cultivation, international marketing and the latest scientific findings.

On the subject of whether or not the varietal can truly make a great wine, Joanna Locke MW, the chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine said: ‘While excellent versions already exist in the Loire and New Zealand, for example, I think that South Africa also is on its way to producing truly great Sauvignon.’

Written by Darrel Joseph

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