Global Warming: Coming to a Vineyard Near You


Our Stories April 16, 2013 No Comments.

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GrapesEven if you’re not a big wine connoisseur, you probably know that there are certain parts of the globe known for their excellent wine; for example, Napa Valley in California and the Bordeaux region in France. So what would happen to wine production if those places suddenly became unsuitable? A few scientists considered this recently and they published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Warning: nerdiness about to begin.

 

They made an intense map of the world that details the future suitability for wine production, and to do so, they took into consideration two global warming scenarios (one optimistic, one pessimistic) that have been widely discussed. Those scenarios were run through 17 global climate models to see where the right conditions of temperature, moisture and growing-season length for grape-growing might occur in the middle of this century compared to right now.

 

Even using the more optimistic outlook, the most popular areas for wine growth, including Napa, Burgundy, Tuscany and southern Australia, still decline by a minimum of 19 percent and a maximum of 62 percent. The lead author on the study, Lee Hannah, believes that wine suitability is moving toward the poles. He says there is a lot of high-latitude land and area suitable for vineyards is expanding.

 

Where does Hannah see the future of wine production happening in the United States? In Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park.

 

The biggest decline is expected to be in Europe, where there could be an 85 percent decrease in production in Bordeaux, Rhone and Tuscany. The changes are expected to move wine regions to Northern Europe, Tasmania and the hills of central China.

 

It’s sad to see all of this changing, but if and when it does happen, it will be interesting to see how these new wine regions handle production and the quality of wine they start producing. There’s one thing for certain: wine isn’t disappearing any time soon. Drinkers of the world can now breathe a sign of relief and maybe save a few bottles of their best wines from popular wine-growing regions – you may be able to sell them as collector’s items on eBay in a few decades to fund your retirement.

 

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