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    Hot, dry summer forces an early start to Champagne harvest in France [VIDEO]

    Grape pickers in France were toiling under a blistering sun this week, earlier in the season than usual, as climate change forces the makers of Champagne to change when they harvest, and possibly eventually how they make the coveted bubbly.

    High temperatures and the worst drought on record have caused massive wildfires and led to restrictions on water usage across France. But they also boosted grape maturity.

     

    August harvest used to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Champagne, said Charles Philipponnat, president of the family owned Philipponnat Champagne winery that produces several hundred thousand bottles each year. No longer.

     

    “It’s one of the records early starts to the grape harvest. But we’ve had quite a few of them in recent years. In the last 12 years, we’ve had seven or eight early starts in August. Before, that was only very exceptional. We only had two or three in the history of Champagne, in the period that we’ve been measuring temperatures and noting harvest dates,” Charles Phlipponnat, President of Family Champagne Firm Philipponnat, said.

     

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