Tackling Wine Production Challenges in a Changing Climate
This summer, I walked through the beautiful Rioja wine region for the second time. For pilgrims following the classic Camino Frances route, it takes about a week of walking to get from the French-Spanish border crossing to Logroño, the captivating capital of the Rioja region. This charming city's streets come alive in the evenings as locals and visitors gather to taste Rioja wine and indulge in pinchos, the regional version of tapas.
Logroño holds a special place in the memories of many pilgrims. For some, it marks the end of their Camino journey. They remember the city as the place where they learned the hard way that walking too fast, without proper training and appropriate shoes, frequently results in injuries that force them to abandon their quest to reach Santiago de Compostela.
This situation isn't helped by the challenge encountered on the very first day of the demanding hike across northern Spain. That initial stretch is known as the Napoleon route over the Pyrenees, which starts from St. Jean Pied de Port in France and crosses the Pyrenees mountain range into Roncesvalles in Spain. It owes its name to Napoleon because he allegedly used this route to invade Spain in 1808 during the Peninsular War.
The Napoleon route is considered one of the most scenic and challenging sections of the Camino Francés. It entails a steep ascent and descent over some 25 kilometers. I vividly recall how much I enjoyed the stunning views of the Pyrenees and the surrounding valleys. The route is only open between May and October, as it is impassable during the rest of the year due to snow and ice.
During my walk this summer, I formed a diverse group of fellow pilgrims who joined me on the Napoleon route. All of them were happy to end their first day's hike in Roncesvalles, Spain. Our group was a melting pot, with participants from Italy, Colombia, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and South Africa. Although I continued in the afternoon, we would cross paths again in the following days.
Logroño is the second major city on the Camino Francés, following Pamplona, which most pilgrims reach by the third day of their journey. After I left the city, I made a video in the vast vineyards in the heart of the Rioja region, which you may remember from when I posted it in this newsletter. I will attach it here for you to revisit:
As I mentioned in yesterday's newsletter, my inquiries into the effect of climate change on wine production eventually led me to Swiss Re in Zurich. There, I had the privilege of interviewing Stefanos Mystakidis, an Agriculture Risk Analyst and modeler with profound expertise in the challenges of wine production in regions impacted by climate change.
The knowledge he shared during our ten-minute interview was fascinating. He managed to condense a wealth of information into that brief discussion. I hope you'll find it as informative as I did. I'm providing both a short teaser and the full interview for you to enjoy:
The short version:
The full ten-minute interview:
Stay tuned for two more videos in the coming weeks. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated.
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