Energy & Environment

Study: Climate change threatens world’s wine supply

Photo of grape vine in spring

More than half of the areas around the world suitable for growing grapes used for wine could become unsuitable for the purpose in 80 years due to climate change, according to a new study.

A study published Monday in the National Academy of Sciences’ online journal said that 56 percent of wine-growing regions could be unsuitable by 2100 should the Earth’s climate warm 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in that time.

The study also found that such losses could be cut in half should wine growers diversify their crops and move different species of grapes to different regions — however, such an effort would involve farmers in regions that have specialized in single varietals for hundreds of years to learn new farming methods for new crops.

And even that method becomes less effective under models in which the climate warmed more than 3.6 degrees, according to the study’s authors.

“Conversations in Europe have already begun about new legislation to make it easier for major regions to change the varieties they grow,” study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, an associate conservation services professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, told USA Today.

“But growers still must learn to grow these new varieties,” she continued. “That’s a big hurdle in some regions that have grown the same varieties for hundreds and hundreds of years, and they need consumers who are willing to accept different varieties from their favorite regions.”


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