Drinking wine spo-dee-o-dee

Grapes.jpg According to a Reuter’s piece in the Guardian [UK], New Zealand’s wine makers are upbeat about their prospects in a warming world. A warmer climate will increase the area suitable for producing fine wine, but it may mean changes in the grapes being grown.

Higher temperatures due to global warming are expected to make cold areas of New Zealand more temperate and better suited to grape cultivation. So it’s no surprise that New Zealand wine-growers are upbeat about a future that includes climate change. “The big picture for New Zealand wine is very, very good,” said Philip Gregan, chief executive of industry body New Zealand Winegrowers.

A rather nice confirmation of the view I expressed in Hot Topic. One of the interviewees is Clive Paton of Ata Rangi, a name to conjure with in the world of NZ red wine:

Paton said the Martinborough climate is ideal for producing Pinot Noir, but a slight rise in the temperature would be enough to tip the balance. So Paton has been looking at Syrah, also known as Shiraz, getting to grips with the nuances of an alternative variety, in preparation for a potential shift. “Even if it does rise a half or one degree, it’s still going to be a great place for growing grapes,” said Paton.

Very true. Good job we have some syrah chez Hot Topic. But what if the warming is not so moderate…? The rest of the world is worried. Discovery Channel covers the second Climate Change & Wine conference, being held in Barcelona this weekend. Pancho Campos, the president of the Wine Academy of Spain, who organized the conference, also thinks we might be on to a good thing:

The French “Grand Crus” could be further threatened by the “New World” wines of Australia, California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand, who would have the best climatic conditions. “The countries in the southern hemisphere are next to a greater mass of water, and it is sea currents which maintain the temperature at its level,” said Campos.

Agence France Press coverage here.
[Update 21/2: The Herald picks up the Reuters story and expands it with a few (fairly old, I think) quotes from NIWA’s Jim Salinger. Interesting that the Herald predicts that we might be growing sauvignon blanc in Canterbury in 20 – 30 years. I wonder what that means for the 250,000 sav blanc vines already down the road from me….]

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