07/11/2006 04:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Global Warming Could Decimate the Palate: Rise in Temps Will Ruin Wine

Have a hard time connecting with devastating floods, hurricanes, drought, and famines caused by global warming? Maybe it's just too depressing and overwhelming to think about. Maybe it seems too far away and too abstract, though I think Katrina and other events make that an increasingly difficult position to maintain. Maybe global warming is just "Too Inconvenient." As you may know by now I feel very passionately about this issue, but I am not here to judge if your temperature has still not risen over it.

Not being able to enjoy a nice glass of wine will be way too inconvenient for me, that is for sure. Before Al Gore's movie reminded me that he has been talking about this issue for decades, I was thinking that this issue seemed fairly new to the table. I read this article and it jogged my memory that I was not only learning about global warming back in college, but dare I say, a bit of a canary in a coal mine on this connection of wine and global warming.

Ok, let me take you back. The year is 1996, I am a sophomore in college. I was taking a class called "The Changing Surface of the Earth" -- translation: geology. Translation: what many term a gut class, the easiest science class that was being offered that semester. I did and do pride myself on being a good pupil, I studied hard and certainly did not shy away from challenging classes, but when it came to math and science that was a whole different story. As far as math, I was part of an embarrassingly small group of incoming freshman who flunked the QRR (quantitative reasoning requirement). The class was essentially me, members of the hockey and football team (not a stereotype, just a statement of fact), and those who simply did not show for the test to pass out of it. I showed up, three times to be exact, apparently "Advanced Topics in Mathematics", the remedial math class I took senior year in high school did not prepare me.

Anyway, I studied for the midterm and arrived ready, but nervous, since I have always choked when it comes to science. I was cruising along in the short answer section and two short essays, then I got to the main essay. I don't remember the exact phrasing of the question, but it was something about El Nino. Remember when that was in the news all the time?

I blanked. I blankly stared ahead trying to recall what I had read and the only thing that seemed to come to me was some article I had recently read waiting for someone in a hotel lobby the week before. I think it was Cigar Aficionado or something. Strange choice of reading considering I detest cigars and smoking of any kind, have never had a puff in my life. In fact, my only hard and fast dating rule: no smokers need apply!

The article was about the effects El Nino was going to have on Australian and New Zealand wine. Positive effects because of, I don't recall. Who knows if that is true, but I do notice I love whites from New Zealand and shiraz's from Australia. Armed with this recollection I proceeded to write an entire essay summarizing the article and giving tons of specifics on the causes. I have to say I was pretty happy with myself and decided I had pulled off a major coup. Subscribing to my college theory of "you don't have to answer the question, just answer the one you want to and force it in". Incidentally, I still employ that at times while on TV being asked about some silly political fight of the day, so I can discuss issues I know Citizen Hunters care about.

Well the professor did not agree with my creativity, nor my theory on essay questions. I received a C for my efforts with some choice comments. It took much work to drag myself to a B+ for the class. Anyway, I digress, back to the crisis at hand.

Wine grapes need consistent climates to flourish and with sky-high temps brought on by global warming and erratic temps, a new paper released on Monday by The National Academy of Sciences says that areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could decrease by 50% and maybe as much as 81% by the end of the century.

Next time you open up a bottle of wine and pour yourself a glass remind yourself to take action on global warming, so that you can continue to do so!

Visit to take action by contacting your representatives on bills to help stop global warming, get tips on what you can do, pledge to see "An Inconvenient Truth", and join the virtual march to stop global warming.