Climate Change Threatens Vineyards

As the effects of climate change become more evident, the list of vulnerable industries continues to grow. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. premium wine industry is among those severely threatened by global warming. The report predicts between a 50% and 81% decline in the areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes by the year 2099. This decrease is attributed to a forecasted rise in the number of days with temperatures above 95 degrees. Although wine is produced in 48 states, California stands to be most severely impacted. California's $16.5 billion wine industry currently accounts for roughly 90% of the nation's wine grapes. Previous studies suggested that temperature increases of 3.6 degrees over the next 50 years would not have a negative impact on wine production. In fact, since 1948, a 1.5-degree increase in temperature in California, Oregon, and Washington has yielded more grapes and higher quality wines. However, the previous studies were based on projected average temperatures during the growing season, and did not account for the number of very hot days. This most recent study used computer simulations to predict daily temperature swings, and found that conditions would be too hot to produce premium wine grapes. Subsequently, the study suggests that premium wine grape production would shift into New England and the Pacific Northwest. Karen Ross, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers said: "this is a call to arms we need to pay attention now. We ought to start thinking about what can be done now to impact the severity of what might happen." See also ::Stoller Vineyards: First American LEED Certified Winery and ::Fetzer Vineyards Announces New Solar Plans