Friday, April 12, 2013

Climate Changes Effect on Wine

We all know what the drought over the last few years has done to food prices. And with saying that, we have yet to bear the full brunt of these effects at the grocery stores. Those days will come.

But did you know that according to some predictions, overall climate changes are going to eventually alter the wine industry?  I recently read an article where a study has predicted that by 2050, most common areas suited for grape growing around the world will see anywhere from a 25 to 75 percent reduction in their annual crops, and it will become more expensive to grow grapes in these regions due to global warming. This can be a sensitive subject, but if some of these global warming predictions are true, then this is what they are predicting will happen.

These studies predict in California alone, where the state accounts for over two-thirds of the United States wine production, it could see a 70% reduction by 2050. This is not limited to our country. This global warming will have a world-wide effect. Chile will see a 25% decrease while Australia could see as high as 75%. It varies from region to region. The effect comes from the rising temperatures and the changing amounts of rainfall each year. As we have seen, it seems to have become less and less, plus hotter and drier. Although the weather is hard to predict in itself, especially looking over the next 50 years, the patterns are beginning to form.

The traditional abundant grape growing regions around the world are becoming less suitable to grow these crops. Wine grapes are very susceptible to changes in climate and temperature and its effect will influence its overall flavor. In order to keep its characteristics, it may become more expensive to produce the wine as it has the last 50-100 years. New ways of irrigation may be needed or even some wineries may be forced to move their vineyards to higher elevations in order to see the same results. Who knows, the new wine country may be in areas of north Montana or Wyoming...even southern Alaska with these cooler temperatures.

This will have a huge impact in the wine world. Over the course of the last 20 years, wine consumption has more than doubled in the United States alone. We have become the largest wine market in the world and have seen 19 consecutive years of volume growth. Napa, Sonoma, Willamette Valley... these areas have been our wine growing bread and butter. What would be the effect of some of these changes? Analysts have asked these wineries to start to look at ways to adjust to these climate effects now and not wait till its too late.

Here's another article about the effect of the climate in California.

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