Climate change impacts grapevines
Author: Bernardo Veksler
The accumulation of environmental effects is impacting vineyards, ancestral production sites are endangered and new regions break former agricultural barriers.
Media outlets around the world are routinely being forced to devote their journalistic coverage to the environmental transformations being brought about by global warming.
There is an ongoing debate on how much climate change awaits us in the near future, and what measures should be taken in that regard. Al Gore has transformed from politician to film personality, earning an Oscar in the process. Although, had his exaggerated consumption of electricity become public knowledge a few days earlier, his ecology sermons might have fallen flat.It is possible that in these double standards of public men lies the cause of the threats hanging over our planet.
But beyond the causes are the consequences that may already be perceived in our lives. The most conservative estimates forecast very significant changes, from rises in sea-level (4 to 20 feet) to deep changes in the distribution and amount of rainfall, through unpredictable floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, biological extinctions and drastic changes in agricultural yields.
One of the sectors expected to be most affected is the wine industry. The most prestigious wine specialists around the world frequently address these subjects and warn that it would not be far-fetched to imagine a near future in which this phenomenon causes the ruin of many regions devoted to wine since ancestral times and the incorporation of areas where not even the most imaginative person would have believed wine would ever be produced.
Vineyard assessments and changes In Europe estimates are already being made of the effects to be experienced by the vineyards and the changes to be borne by the most renowned wine regions.
At the First Conference on Global Warming and Wine held in Barcelona in mid-2006, a deep analysis was made of a set of issues that had gone unnoticed by the wine industry.
Due to the increase in average temperatures of between 2° and 6°C (3.6°F to 10.8°F), grapes will be unable to grow uniformly and their pulp will reach its optimum stage of ripeness before their skin and pips have reached complete maturity,producing heavier red wines. Likewise, it will be difficult to maintain the current freshness of white wines. The sun’s heat and light will increase the sugar level in grapes, raising their alcohol content beyond acceptable standards.
According to the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, a variation in temperature of 1 degree Celsius (1.8°F) will cause the borders of the Northern Hemisphere wine region to be displaced 125 miles to the North. Ultimately, vineyards will have to migrate to cooler areas, better suited to grape growing A study carried out by the University of Florence, published a few weeks back, considers that the greenhouse effect will change the world’s winemaking geography, with a progressive shifting of the ideal latitude for grape growing and wine producing.
Paradoxically, that same research also revealed that the phenomenon has had a positive effect on some wines, improving their quality and increasing their output. However, if temperatures continue to rise, in a few years’ time we shall have to bid farewell to some sublime wines. Since the seventies, local wines are being sold in England, where producers have been growing the same varietals as in the Champagne region.
If this keeps up, at some point this phenomenon will cause Spanish, Italian or French gourmands to miss some of their best wines and get used to tasting others from new origins. These losses may possibly contribute to generating greater environmental awareness
Referred by: Wineclan Administración Comentarios 0