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Abacela Winery
December 31, 2021 | Climate Of Wine, In The News | Abacela Winery

Greg Jones on MSNBC's The ReidOut with Tiffany Cross


TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everybody. I`m Tiffany Cross in tonight for Joy Reid.

CROSS: All right, everybody. I know we have about 28 hours until the ball drops, but, in the words of Beyonce, we like to party. Sorry for my singing. I can`t.

But I do want to cheer to the new year. And I imagine, like me, many of you will be popping a bottle of bub with your friends and family tomorrow. Sadly, some of you will be drinking alone because you`re in quarantine or you have to be on air Saturday morning like me.

Whatever the reason, I`m sorry. But, even worse, some of you could be popping a bottle of English sparkling wine. I know, the horror. But that`s for an entirely different, but equally disturbing reason. Extreme weather conditions are starting to push good wine out of traditional regions like France, Italy and California into places further north and south, like Norway, Oregon and the aforementioned England.

It`s the literal polarization of wine. Take, for example, France. Extreme weather has hammered the country, leaving its world-class wine and champagne regions hurting. A French government forecasts showed that the 2021 harvest was the smallest in at least 50 years.

Now, that`s a devastating blow to a country whose second largest export industry is actually wine. The threatening effects of the climate crisis on wine are having serious and life-changing consequences.

I`m joined now by Greg Jones, CEO of Abacela Winery. He`s also an atmospheric scientist and vinicultural climatologist.

I hope I said that correctly. Greg, you will correct me if I didn`t.


This is a really entry interesting story. I mean, it`s obviously disappointing for champagne lovers, but the bigger challenge is, of course, protecting Earth.

What`s the solution to all of this? And because it`s so serious, I`m just going to take a sip of the champagne while you tell us what can be done to preserve our precious cocktails.

GREG JONES, CEO, ABACELA WINERY: Well, first of all, thanks for having me on air today.

This is a really big issue. We have been noticing in agriculture in general, but in grape growing specifically, climates have been changing all over the world, and the rise of extreme events that have become more and more problematic, whether it be heat extremes and/or hail and/or heavy rain, have really caused some major challenges.

In 2021, in champaign, a combination of frost, hail, heavy rain, and quite a bit of mildew led to a very, very difficult vintage. There will be some people that just will not even produce whatsoever. There`s hope, though. There`s still, I think, plenty of wine out there for this coming year.

Champagne does something that is very similar to what OPEC does with oil and what maple syrup is done within Quebec. They do have supplies that they keep behind for delivery for a year like this.

But the challenge is, is that the supply chain may be more difficult than anything.

CROSS: The supply chain is certainly a challenge with a lot of industries.

In hearing you talk about this, I`m curious. If we cannot address this challenge with champagne, like, what is the responsibility of the consumer? Like, will prices start to go up significantly? Should people be buying champagne, buying more champagne? I understand the champagne committee is trying to decrease the carbon footprint of what`s happening in these regions.

For us at home watching, like, what should we be doing?

JONES: Well, I think the whole industry is trying to look at this as a broader issue.

The idea, number one, is to really look at packaging. How does shipping glass bottles all around the world impact our carbon footprint? So I think there`s going to be some major changes in packaging in the future.

But, as consumers, we just need to be aware of where our products are coming from. Can we buy more locally? Or can we buy more sustainably in terms of how that product has gotten to our doorstep?


CROSS: Great advice, especially as so many people will be popping bottles tomorrow night for New Year`s.

Because tomorrow night is New Year`s Eve, I`m just curious what you will be drinking tomorrow night when it`s time to bring in the new year.

JONES: Well, I have to admit that I do you have an Oregon sparkling wine on my menu for tomorrow night.

I think there's some wonderful sparkling well wines made throughout wine regions in the United States. So, if you cannot, for whatever reason it is, find a champagne on the shelf at the marketplace, look for something else from maybe Upstate New York or Oregon or Washington.

There are some really good sparkling wines made by the producers out there.

CROSS: That`s really sound advice. And 2021 has been a challenging year. 2022 may be another challenging year. Please don`t take our wine and champagne away from us.

Thank you so much, Greg Jones. Cheers to you and happy new year.

And don`t go anywhere at home, because, up next, America`s youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, pens an extraordinary new poem to send us into the new year brimming with hope and inspiration.

We will be right back.


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