jamie goode's wine blog: Global warming and wine

Monday, February 05, 2007

Global warming and wine

I'm feeling ill. Very ill. Currently confined to bed, and there will be no wine tonight. It's frustrating being ill because it affects how clearly I think, and even though I have some time on my hands, I don't feel like making the most of it because of a lack of energy.

Started a poll on erobertparker.com about global warming and wine. It was prompted by frustration that previous threads on the topic had been nuked for being 'political'. In the poll I asked participants whether they thought that the evidence that wine regions have got warmer, and will continue to do so, is a suitable topic for discussion, or whether they considered it to be political and out of bounds. We had a nice discussion going, in which most participants accepted that the data on temperature trends weren't controversial, just the notion that the cause is human activity. [Having said this, I think the evidence that human greenhouse gas emissions are a contributory factor is about as clear as it could be.] The poll was running at 90:6 in favour of discussion when the thread got blasted away. Fair enough, it is his board. Mark sent me a note:
'To answer your question, global warming is not a legitimate topic for discussion on a wine board that bans politics. No one knows how it affects wine. From week to week you hear that the vineyards will be (a) colder or (b) warmer. Be that as it may, it is a very political discussion in any number of contexts. If you do not agree with that, that is most certainly your right. But it is my right to run the board...'




At 6:36 PM, Blogger Per Elling said...

It is just ridiculous to deny a discussion on global warming's effect on wine production on the grounds that it is a political topic. GM-wine is a highly political question, the WTO-negotiations on trade with farming produce (incl. wine) is a political question, The European Union's wine policy is a political question which effects on the wine industry and wine as such must and should be discussed. That Mark blames the uncertain effects global warming (yes there is global warming, and yes it's affected by human activity)has on wine producing regions is not a reason to strangle the debate, he should rather encourage debate to bring opinions and facts to the surface. Then again, it is his forum...

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

What are they so worried about?

They try to keep the Robert Parker website as apolitical as possible, so as not to offend any of their customers.

I was/am one of their customers and I am definitely not that easily offended.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous adam said...

Climate fluctuates and plain and simple the grapes record it. We discuss every wine related topic on threads (and lots beyond on some) so seems fair to me. I think the rub comes in that they need to monitise their web sites.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Robert McIntosh said...

One could argue that *not* discussing global warming on the (US-based) site is a political statement in itself as it would sem to reflect the US administration's 'head-in-sandism'

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Steve Borthwick said...

Seems like you hit a nerve over there Jamie!

It is an unfortunate observation of many people that this particular board suffers from a US centric often blatantly xenophobic and always sycophantic (towards Parker) outlook on things (remember the Broadbent thread). This is a real shame because IMO there are a lot of intellectually honest people who hang out there too, this is doubly sad now that Neal Martin has gone across as well.

I felt so strongly about this that I have cancelled my subscription to eRobertParker (not solely because of this one issue) mainly because I believe it offers little value to those of us who are interested in an “unbiased” viewpoint and honest debate. Of course you are quite right, it is his (Squires) board and it is based in the USA, so you could argue “what do you expect”, well as a paying customer frankly a little more than this; but at least I can vote with my feet. I’m sticking to boards like the UK Wine Forum from now on; at least the people there aren’t afraid of a good balanced debate.

As for climate change being a “political” issue; I’ve never heard anything so ridiculously transparent in all my life – it’s truly pathetic.


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