"For oenophiles and anyone interested in ways climate change is affecting what’s on the table, this is a must-read." Publishers Weekly
Take a tour of wine and spirit production around the world and how climate change is affecting it at every stage – from cultivation to consumption.
Climate change is altering the very nature of wine and spirit production around the world. From the unimaginably destructive fires that rip through California’s wine country with terrifying frequency to the floods and hail storms that threaten grape and grain harvests from Bordeaux to Kentucky and beyond, no one involved in the world of beverage production is immune. Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom: The rising temperatures brought on by climate change have allowed southern English wine producers to gain a foothold in the world of sparkling wine: Their best bubblies are finally gaining the kind of respect that producers have dreamed about for decades. CRUSHED takes readers on a tour of the world of wines and spirits, and tells the stories of the visionary growers and producers in eight key regions that are being affected by a climate whose shifts have been far more sudden and dramatic than they ever could have predicted.
CRUSHED is written for everyone who enjoys a nice glass of wine or a great dram of whiskey, and who has ever wondered how it got from its literal roots to the glass they’re holding in their hand. It’s for anyone who is interested in the ways in which our dramatically shifting natural environment is affecting the beverages we’ve all taken for granted.
Over the course of eight gripping chapters, each one focusing on a different part of the wine and spirits world, readers are taken into the lives of the people responsible for some of the most delicious drinks in the world in fascinating, revealing, and riveting ways. Plenty of books have been written about the effects of climate change on our food system, yet none has so vividly given readers the opportunity to understand how their beloved wines and spirits are being affected. Until now.
Brian Freedman is a wine, spirits, travel, and food writer, restaurant and beverage consultant, wine and spirits educator, and event host and speaker. He regularly contributes to Food & Wine digital, Forbes.com, and SevenFifty Daily, has contributed to Travel + Leisure online, Departures online, Whisky Advocate Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, The Bourbon Review, and more. He also hosted wine and spirit pairing segments on the CNN Airport Network. In 2019, Brian was awarded a fellowship to attend The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley. He consults for restaurants on their beverage programs, regularly hosts virtual and in-person wine and spirits tastings for corporate and private clients, and has traveled to more than 50 countries and territories around the world, and extensively throughout the United States, to experience the food, drink, and culture for his work. He lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife Steffi, daughters Sophie and Olivia, and dog Murray.
Introduction: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
1 The Scorching of California’s Wine Country
2 Waking Up to Climate Change
3 Desert Roots
4 A Bright Future for Overcast England
5 American Spirit
6 What Happens in the South When Temperatures Go North
7 Deep Freeze in Hill Country
8 The Philosopher-Farmer of the Western Cape
About the Author
Each story is informative and eye-opening, filled with an enthralling cast of characters and how they’re sparring with climate change in their own ways. While it’s not a particularly positive topic, it’s a page-turner[.]
Travel writer Freedman shares in his rich debut stories of growers and producers across the world to illustrate the impact climate change is having on the wine industry. The tour kicks off in Sonoma in 2017: Freedman speaks with a vineyard owner, one of many “wine pioneers... pushing to further and further climatic extremes” as smoke from nearby wildfires damages his crop. In France, meanwhile, growers are switching to grapes that develop later in the season and are “therefore more protected from early-spring frost and hail,” and while a “warming climate is challenging Champagne... it is, on the whole, benefiting southern England,” where rising temperatures make for a booming nascent bubbly business. In Argentina, a family is forced to make changes in their irrigation practices, switching from flood to drip, and in Israel, growers are up against “exhaust[ed] soil.” Freedman’s knowledge of the industry is encyclopedic, his predictions are fascinating (growers are hoping Scandinavia may be “the next big thing in the world of wine”), and his stories hit home as they reveal producers’ ingenuity and tenacity “to not just survive in this brave new world but to thrive.” For oenophiles and anyone interested in ways climate change is affecting what’s on the table, this is a must-read.
The effects of climate change have led to both struggles and innovations in the wine and liquor industry. In his first book, wine, food, and travel writer Freedman focuses on a handful of areas where vintners wage a battle for survival against a chaotic climate. In Sonoma, California, for example, Jamie and Kristen Kutch left lucrative corporate jobs to start their own wine business and gained a devoted following for their pinot noir. When heat waves and the occasional brush fire threatened not just crops but the entire business, they began to harvest their grapes to spare them from spoiling when fires struck. Crushed views the quandary of climate change vis à vis an industry that faces decimation without adaptation. Taking the reader on a whirlwind tour from California to France to Israel to South America, Freedman introduces people who are resolute in their fight to keep their beverage-business legacies alive. His strong narrative sounds an alarm on what stands to be lost to unmitigated climate change.
Think global, act local – that's how Brian Freedman frames the story of climate change and the wine industry in his fact-filled new book Crushed. Freedman follows the struggles of front-line winegrowers and spirits-makers as they battle the local impacts of the changing global environment. A timely examination of the diversity of climate change effects and the inspiring response from winemakers around the world.
Brian Freedman’s Crushed takes the issue of climate change and breaks it down to the personal level, explaining how altered weather patterns affect wine regions, vineyards, and wineries. Told through personal experience and the eyes of the people who grow the grapes and make the wine, Freedman chillingly lays out climate change’s potential devastation on not just vineyards and wine regions but ultimately the entire planet and those of us who live here.
As someone who’s also devoted a great deal of time and energy reporting on wine regions the world over, I humbly submit that Crushed proves Brian Freedman is much better at his job than most… including me.
8/16/22, Food & Wine: Brian Freedman provided his expertise in this article.
[O]ne of the more poignant and pertinent wine book releases of recent years…. His tone is authoritative and approachable, and in each of his journeys we react along with Brian in an everyman “what the heck is going on here?” fashion to wine’s changing landscapes demanded by rising global temperatures. It’s a page-turner with a message, making it a fantastic late-Summer read pick for wine fans.
If you’re looking for a fascinating read while enjoying a glass of wine, reach for the new book, Crushed… Climate plays a huge role in not only wine and vineyards but also how grain is grown for spirits production. The exceptionally engaging book is told through stories of winemakers and distillers who deal with everything from fires to hailstorms to floods to get their drinks into the bottle and onto our tables.
11/20/22, The Frommer’s Travel Show: Brian Freedman talked about how climate change will affect wine vacations.