Thirsty Thursday Looks At Climate Change

March 3, 2011

New reports suggest that the world's most famous wine growing regions will have to change their growing practices in the coming years to deal with the effects of climate change. Here's what two of the most famous regions are dealing with and what they're doing about it:

1) France's Bordeaux Region: More and more wine growers have turned toward heat resistant grape varietals to combat the changing temperatures in the area. Many industry analysts fear the region will be unable to sustain wine by 2050 with Cabernet and Merlot being the first to go. If the weather gets hotter, the grapes could ripen sooner and become more susceptible to summer droughts.

2) Napa Valley: The famed California region, noted for its wine, now has two conflicting studies about what effects climate change will have on it. A 2006 study suggested the region would quickly become too hot to support the vineyard industry, but a recently released study actually suggested the opposite— that the region would cool as a result of climate change. Wine growers recognize the environment in the valley will change, and have begun to prepare for that eventuality.

That's bad news for the industry as demand for their product reaches new heights. Wine sales to China rose 98 percent in 2010 and will likely grow higher as the country's middle class obtains more disposable income to spend.  The world might increasingly rely on China for its wine production; industry experts suggest that China could become the world's largest producer in the next 50 years.

Napa Valley Dry