Monday, April 25, 2011

Experts Consider the Implications of Climate Change on the Wine Industry

Earth Day came and went without much fanfare last week. The world is focused on war, revolution, and natural disaster. In our own country, the headlines are grabbed by the struggle for jobs and an erratic economy.

But environmental issues touch almost all aspects of our life – even our wine. A special issue of the Journal of Wine Research features academics and commercial researchers commenting on past, present and future research into climate change and its implications for the wine industry.
In the issue, edited by Gregory V. Jones and Leanne Webb,  they identify the challenges facing the wine industry and offer suggestions for mitigating damage and adapting for the future.  

Predictions and warnings for the industry are made – with caution but also with firmness:
‘It is the present warm to hot vineyard regions of the world which will suffer most in a warming world.  I would join many others in arguing that the present varieties grown in the majority of the world’s hot regions are now inappropriate…’
Richard Smart
‘…much less is known about the vulnerability of viticulture and viniculture as a sector to conditions beyond temperature and climate; about the adaptive capacity of the wine industry; and about adaptive management strategies.’
Tara Holland and Barry Smit

The contributors also encourage the wine industry to look at the advantages of taking an active approach to research and development – ‘to be proactive in assessing the impacts, to invest in appropriate plant breeding and genetic research, to be ready to adopt suitable adaptation strategies, to be willing to alter varieties and management practices or controls, or to minimize wine quality differences by developing new technologies’.

You can find more information on this special issue of JOURNAL OF WINE RESEARCH here.
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