Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where to plant a vineyard......in 2099?

According to a small article in National Geographic this month, by the year 2099 most of the current major viticulture areas in the world will have become too hot to produce wine at all. Or if wine production is still feasible, these areas will not be able to produce great wine from the varietals that are currently being planted. Growing seasons will become too short, and sugar levels will rise to outrageous levels long before the fruit itself has time to mature and develop its wonderful character. The wine industry does recognize this and think it is big issue as well and are taking it seriously. In fact in February of 2008 will be the second conference on Climate Change and Wine in Barcelona Spain where Al Gore is the keynote speaker.

Check out a few articles on Global Warming and Wine – (there are ton of articles out there- just Google it)

Why the Wine Industry Should Care About Global Warming
Grapegrowers Feeling the Heat
Australia at the Crossroads
Global Warming and Wine

I do believe that global warming is truly an issue and will continue to be an issue for all agricultural businesses, but that isn’t why I am writing this entry. I am trying to put a little bit of a thought provoking/ humorous spin on it.

So to the title of the blog entry, where would you plant a vineyard now, knowing the fact that it may not be sustainable in that same area in the year 2099? Do you believe that Global Warming will truly make that dramatic a difference in viticulture as to shorten growing seasons by leaps and bounds? Or are you a glass half full kind of person? Do you believe that we (humans) will solve the climate crisis and, and current viticulture areas will still be producing wonderful fruit in 2099? Or maybe you are a little bit of both! Do you think that the climate will definitely change, for better or worse, but that viticulturists and enologists will develop new grape varieties that will flourish under the new global conditions?

Well in talking to people in the wine industry, there are definitely people that represent all of the above schools of thought. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Winemakers look to hardy hybrids for solutions to environmental challenges” talks to the third point above in regards to developing new grape hybrids that can handle the stresses of higher temperatures and the increasing issues with climate change. In addition to climate change, the growing trend toward greener viticulture practices and reduced fungicide use will also increase the need for more hearty hybrids.

So readers out there let me know what you think. Whether or not you think Global Warming is real, I want to hear your thoughts on the future direction of viticulture.

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