Grape expectations

HanginggrapesWinemakers in Australia and South Africa are worried about the impact of warming on their wines. In Australia, a new report [Stuff] suggests that grape quality will be hit badly, unless the industry adapts by moving to cooler areas or by planting hot climate varieties. And Canada’s Globe & Mail reports on South African concerns:

It’s getting too hot, and too wet (at the wrong times) in the key wine-growing region, and the flagship but fragile sauvignon blanc has been the first, but not the last, to suffer. It’s a harsh blow, first, because after years of sanctions in the apartheid era, the country has gradually been winning more market share for its wines (just under 3 per cent globally, last year.) and its wines have garnered more critical acclaim as well.

Luckily, I planted some syrah…

[Added 10/8/07: Interesting perspective on changes in Spanish viticulture in response to climate change from National Public Radio in the USA.]

4 thoughts on “Grape expectations”

  1. More on this topic please. What is going to happen to those beautiful Otago Pinot Noirs for example.

    I know there are some fine Pinots coming from the Mornington peninisula soon – but perhaps not for long?

  2. Very good questions, Jason. Otago’s winemakers probably wouldn’t object to a little gentle warming, but too much heat would change the character of the wine. In Aussie, they’ve been heading for the hills – going up to cooler slopes in search of higher quality.

  3. It is very difficult to predict regional changes arising from CC but NIWA seems to think that the dry east of the mainland could become wetter as warmer winds fail to cool enough to precipitate out as they pass over the Alps.

    Good for hydro and dairying, but bad for the ski industry and (?) wine growing (fungual outbreaks).

    Cheers Doug

  4. Where did you get that from, Doug? All of the NIWA work I’ve seen suggests that the frequency of drought on the east coast will increase. They’re working on new projections based on the AR4 modelling – which should be out in the next couple of months – but I’m not aware that they show much that’s dramatically different from the last round (which I used in HT). I posted on that earlier

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