Climate change could see a decline in wine

By Efrosini Costa

Climate change could see a decline in wine
Climate change could have a drastic impact on the production of major wine regions worldwide.

Bordeaux and the Rhone regions of France, Tuscany in Italy, the Napa Valley in California, Chile and even parts of New Zealand and Australia may soon feel the pressures of a warming environment with vineyards the latest climate-change victim.

Researchers from Conservation International have forecast sharp declines in wine production as rising temperatures and changing climates make it harder and harder to grow grapes in traditional wine country.

A predicted two-thirds fall in production of our favourite types of vino from the world’s premier wine regions are expected by 2050.

But scientists also anticipate this will see a big push of viticulture into areas once considered unsuitable for wine production. Northern Europe, Britain, northwest America and even the hills of central China could provide new ground for wine production as growers head for higher, cooler grounds

“The fact is that climate change will lead to a huge shakeup in the geographic distribution of wine production,” Lee Hannah, a senior scientist at Conservation International and co-author of the study told reporters.

Wine grapes are notorious for being one of the more sensitive crops around, regulating subtle shifts in temperature, rainfall and sun exposure go hand in hand with ensuring the development of some of the world’s most prized wines.

While the industry has been preparing for the hotter, drier climates the latest findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, managed to take even the researchers by surprise.

“It will be harder and harder to grow those varieties that are currently growing in places in Europe,” Hannah said, adding: “It doesn’t necessarily mean that [they] can’t be grown there, but it will require irrigation and special inputs to make it work, and that will make it more and more expensive.”

Re-ordering of the wine world:

  • The most drastic of declines is expected in Europe, scientists predict up to 85 per cent drop in production for Bordeaux, Rhone and Tuscany.
  • Australian wine growers can expect a 74 per cent drop with California quickly behind with a 70 per cent drop. Tasmania and Yellowstone Park have emerged as suitable substitutes.
  • South African vineyards will be also feel the effects with an expected 55 per cent decline in production
  • Chilean wine producers can expect losses of around 40 per cent overall
  • The hills of central China is another area that has been identified as a prime area for wine production in the future.


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