Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change in the vineyards: The taste of global warming

04.11.2003


Wine lovers take note: global warming is already tinkering with your favorite indulgence.



A study of the world’s top 27 wine regions’ temperatures and wine quality over the past 50 years reveals that rising temperatures have already impacted vintage quality. As for the next 50 years, climate modeling for these same wine regions predicts a 2°C temperature rise that is likely to make cool growing regions better producers of some grape varieties, and already warm wine regions less hospitable for viticulture.

The details of what rising temperatures and longer growing seasons have done and are likely to do to wine quality will be presented by Southern Oregon University’s Gregory Jones at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting on Monday, November 3, in Seattle, WA. Jones worked on the study with Michael White of Utah State University and Owen Cooper of the University of Colorado/NOAA Aeronomy Lab.


"Grapes are a good indicator crop," explains Jones regarding the broader applications of their wine-specific work. Because wine grapes are grown in temperate climates - what’s called a "Mediterranean" climate - and wines are almost obsessively tasted and rated for quality, wine grapes are a particularly good indicator of changes that are probably effecting other crops in the same areas, says Jones.

Jones and his colleagues used records of Sotheby’s 100-point vintage rating scale data (where wines scoring over 90 are "excellent to superb" and under 40 are "disastrous") along with climate records dating back to 1950 to look for trends in wine quality or growing season temperatures. What they found was an average temperature rise of 2°C rise over the past 50 years and higher vintage ratings.

"There were no negative impacts," Jones said of the apparent temperature rise in the world’s most renowned wine producing regions. Included in the study were five southern hemisphere wine regions, including three in Australia, one in South Africa and one in Chile.

While it is clear that improvements in grape growing and wine making technology have produced better wines, climate will always be the wild card in determining year to year variations in quality, said Jones. "If the climate is more conducive in general or less variable, then higher quality should be easier to obtain."

To project into the future, Jones and his team used the HadCM3 coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) developed at the Hadley Centre in the UK. It is a model that has been used previously for predicting future agricultural conditions, Jones says.

Based on the modeling, the same top wine-growing regions can expect another 2°C over the next 50 years. Does that mean even finer wines? Not necessarily, says Jones. Warmer temperatures could mean that cool growing regions should ripen fruit more consistently and should experience less year-to-year wine quality variability. In addition, already warm wine-growing regions could experience challenges in terms of overripe fruit, added water stress, and increases in diseases and pests.

For example, Italy’s famous Chianti region, which already is very warm in the summer, could be hotter, making harvest earlier during hotter periods and giving some pests more time to mount an attack on the vineyards. On the other hand, the Rhine Valley region in Germany could benefit with greater ripening potential, but might eventually have to produce different wines in the changing climate.

On the other hand, warmer temperatures are already allowing wine grapes to be grown at higher latitudes and elevations - places that were once too cold. For instance, vineyards are on the rise in southern England.

Along with the climate and grape-growing changes, there are also bound to be some big shifts in thinking for people of the wine growing regions, says Jones. "There is a huge historical and cultural identity associated with wine producing regions." A region known for a superb merlot, for instance, might need to shift to another kind of grape, changing the cultural identity that has developed over centuries.

The bottom line, says Jones, is that growers need to pay attention to what might be happening in terms of climate. "In the coming 20 to 30 years they may have to work to replace varieties or change management strategies," he said. Survival of today’s wine regions will depend on how well viticulturists adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Ann Cairns | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_57687.htm
http://www.geosociety.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>