Just how will rising climate change affect the production of wine?
Know that vineyards all around the world have been struck hard by climate change, even if the effects of this phenomenon on the wine industry are not at the forefront of your mind. Grapes are ripening too quickly, for example, and some plants are dying outright as a result of climate change, both of which are problematic for winemaking. Due to this, the practises of both winemakers and consumers have evolved. Several of the world’s most celebrated wine-making regions are under attack at the moment, with some locations taking a heavier impact than others.
The recent 40°C heatwave in the UK has brought the topic of climate change to the forefront of the public’s mind. In Britain, the normal July temperature is closer to 17 degrees Celsius, so this kind of extreme heat is unheard of. As a direct result of these weather patterns, on August 25, 2022, floods in Pakistan were proclaimed a national emergency. These floods are directly attributable to the intensification of monsoon rains brought on by climate change. Current water coverage is equivalent to a third of Pakistan, or an area the size of the United Kingdom.
Recent events have made it abundantly evident that climate change is a critical problem that touches practically every element of human life. Even in the winemaking process, this holds true:
Impact of Wine on the Four Elements
Since the maturing of grapes is extremely delicate, viticulture and climate go hand in hand. The degree to which a grape is acidic or sweet is influenced by its ripeness.
Warmer regions, such as Australia, California, and the south of France, produce some of the world’s best-tasting and most fruity wines. In contrast, the cooler climes of northern France, the United Kingdom, and South Africa produce wines with a higher acidity.
Only at specific temperatures will a wine’s full flavour emerge. There is no denying that global wine production is suffering as a direct result of climate change.
climate change’s impact on vineyards
The extreme sensitivity of grape plants to changes in humidity and temperature is well-documented. The ideal range of temperatures for the growing season is between 12 and 22 degrees Celsius, and a significant amount of precipitation is also necessary. Grapes need an environment that is neither too cold nor too hot, as both might stunt their growth. Climate change, which evidently didn’t receive the news about global warming, is bringing us unexpected frost, erratic precipitation, milder winters, and scorching summers. These fluctuations aren’t ideal for the consistent conditions required to make wine, but they are what we have to work with.
Climate change threatens vines in a number of ways, including:
slowed development due to drought
Rising temperatures trigger premature ripening of grapes.
The UK wine sector, for example, may experience rapid growth as a direct result of this climate change. Even so, many of the world’s most renowned wine-making regions, including France, are in dire straits.
Frost and wildfires have already destroyed half of the harvest in some French vineyards, and they could reduce the harvest across the country by as much as 29%. For this reason, winemaking practises are shifting rapidly in many parts of the world. Examples of such changes include the introduction of new cultivars, the timing of harvests, and the movement of populations to new locations. With no adjustments, the wine industry will disappear as a result of climate change.
Shifting the Wine Map of the World
However, the good news is that rather than decreasing, the number of wine-producing locations around the world is predicted to increase. New countries will enter the premium wine market, while established wine-making regions will have to adjust to new grape varietals. Therefore, the distinction between Old World wines and New World wines may eventually disappear.
Even though these regions have traditionally experienced lower temperatures, global warming has made them into formidable competitors in the premium wine industry. Due to heat and water limitations, southern European countries including Portugal, Italy, and Spain will need to embrace new grape varietals. Wineries in the northwest United States and Canadian provinces may face a similar challenge, since they may need to shift to grape varieties that thrive in hotter climates. Countries like New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa will have to make adjustments as global warming continues and causes things like drought and higher temperatures.
Cranville Wine Racks: An Ultra-Contemporary Answer to an Age-Old Conundrum
Caused by climate change, a new era has arrived in the wine industry. Some of your favorite wines may disappear, while others you have never heard of may become widely available. With the help of Cranville Wine Racks, you can adapt to the modern era of winemaking despite the effects of climate change. Please get in touch with us if you require storage.