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Monday 1 April 2024

Global warming looms as a major threat to the wine industry

French scientists have pinpointed several major wine-growing regions that are under threat because of global warning.

The scientists, led by Cornelis van Leeuwen and a team at the University of Bordeaux, said 90% of traditional wine regions in coastal and lowland regions of Spain, Italy, Greece and southern California “could be at risk of not being viable by the end of the century because of excessive drought and more frequent heatwaves with climate change”.

The report was published in a scientific journal and highlighted the continuing impact of climate change on wine growing regions and how warmth will impact traditional vineyard areas by the end of the century, the Drinks Business website reports.

The study, published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, reported that “the geography of wine production is changing”, and it considered the consequences of changing temperature, precipitation, humidity, radiation and Co2 on global wine production and explore adaptation strategies.

It highlighted how current wine growing regions were mid-latitude due to the warmth for ripening but without excessive heat, and were relatively dry to avoid strong disease pressure.

But it said that warmer temperatures in more northernly regions, such as Washington State, the southern UK, and Tasmania, are “driving the emergence of new wine regions”.

The scientists said that it was possible for current wine producers to mitigate against the worst impacts of warming, by changing plant material, including varieties and rootstocks, training systems and general vineyard management.

But even taking on such strategies, the adaptations “might not be enough” to maintain economically viable wine production. It called on more research to be done to assess the economic impact of such climate change adaptation at a large scale.

Highlighting the scientists’ own country, it said that “a substantial advance” in harvest dates, and alcohol levels, had already been observed in Bordeaux and Alsace, with “the sustainability” of such established wine growing regions “likely to change” in the 21st century.

The extent of the changes “remains unknown” and will depend on “the magnitude of climate change”, the scientists said.

Primary threats were heat and drought, extreme weather events, and unpredictability with regard to changing pest and disease pressure.

Here is the link to the article:

Image: Stephan Bohm, 

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