A California wildfire burning in July 2021.

Last year, I covered a wide variety of wine-related topics. Some were national and global, but most were local. The purpose? To expose readers to the wide world of wines and hopefully introduce them to new varietals and experiences.

Globally, the greatest concern in 2021 was climate change. Yes, the earth is becoming warmer, but it’s more than that. Weather events have become much more severe than in the past. For example, frost nearly destroyed thousands of vines in Champagne last year and some producers made no wine. And devastating floods in Europe not only destroyed vines, but in some cases entire wineries.

The increase in temperatures also made harvesting occur earlier than ever. Grapes that were formerly harvested in September are now bring harvested in August. Droughts in California, meanwhile, exacerbated the wildfires that left many wineries without grapes and even decimated some wineries. The most startling effect of a warmer earth is that optimal growing conditions are moving northward in the northern hemisphere and southward in the southern hemisphere. Wines are now being made in Tasmania, and even sparking wine is being produced in England.

On the local front, here's a recap of what happened in the wine world in 2021:

Bob McGinn has spent his entire career in the wine industry—forming wine clubs, working in wine sales marketing and engaging in all facets of the winemaking process, including vine management, fermentation and yeast analysis. He has developed wine programs for companies such as Marriott, Sheraton and Smith & Wollensky, and consults with local restaurants. You can read more of McGinn’s work at gulfcoastwinejournal.com.

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