Climate change threatens winemakers
Wine-producing countries are making better vintages due to the rising temperature, but vineyards may have to move soon – to other countries – to maintain quality due to climate change.
The Huffington Post reported new evidence that suggests that climate change is pushing harvests further back.
Winemakers welcome droughts in France and Switzerland because warm temperatures speed up grape harvests and make great wine.
“Now, it’s become so warm thanks to climate change, grape growers don’t need drought to get these very warm temperatures,” the report cited Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
However, study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, an ecologist at Harvard University, said, “If we keep pushing the heat up, vineyards can’t maintain that forever.”
The report said for every degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) that the Earth warms, grape harvests advance forward roughly six or seven days.
Because of the rising heat, the Columbia study said vineyards like California’s Napa Valley grapes could theoretically end up in Washington or British Columbia while the hills of central China could become the new Chile.
However, moving the vineyards is not a guarantee because of the other hazards of a new ecosystem.
“These new locales could be tested as soon as 2050, when two-thirds of today’s wine regions may no longer have the climates compatible for the grapes they currently grow,” the report said.