Monday, May 20, 2013

Climate Change and the Wine Industry, Part 4

Climate change will produce winners along with losers going forward.  Old Europe with its appellation system will be gone.  England may be the new Champagne and other northern European countries may inherit winemakers from Italy and Spain with their new ventures.  Australia will largely lose going forward with the exception of the western (and best) region of the continent.  New Zealand will win because of the vineyard-friendly undeveloped lands available.  Chile and Argentina may experience a 25% loss of vineyard land due to climate change but they also have more available.  California could lose 70% of its dedicated vineyards with Washington and Oregon benefitting, especially Oregon which, again, has room to expand and is already experimenting with new varieties.

Being someone who buys wine for a living, the buyer in future transactions may be critical.  Thinking outside of the proverbial box may allow the adventurous buyer to jump on Patagonian or Canadian wines of the future to their advantage.  Wines made from other fruits may be another option ahead.

Losers would also have to include wildlife as their habitats would have to yield to expansion of wine and food cultivation.  Actually vineyards would eventually have to yield to food production if it comes to that.  And business-wise, if wine sales suffer; then hospitality, tourism, grocery, and restaurants would all take a hit. 

In the future, "In Vino Veritas", the old slogan meaning "in wine there is truth", may truthfully refer to the wine industry as the canary in the coalmine of global warming.  If grapes need an environment in the 55-68 degree range, an admittedly narrow window, then if that industry can't make it, how long until others collapse?

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