Climate crisis threatens wine production

The regions of the world that are suitable for growing wine grapes could shrink by as much as 56% if temperatures rise by 2°C, according to a new study. With 4°C of warming, 85% of those lands would no longer be able to produce good wines.

“In some ways, wine is like the canary in the coal mine for climate change impacts on agriculture, because these grapes are so climate-sensitive,” said Benjamin Cook from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and co-author of the new study.

However, Cook and his colleagues did have some good news: reshuffling where certain grape varieties are grown could halve the potential losses of wine-growing regions under 2°C of warming, and reduce losses by a third if warming reaches 4°C.

For example, in France’s Burgundy region, heat-loving mourvedre and grenache could replace current varieties such as pinot noir, the researchers suggested. In Bordeaux, meanwhile, cabernet sauvignon and merlot could be replaced with mourvedre. Parts of the UK could also benefit, becoming more suitable for wine production.

The study was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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