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Global warming could alter the US premium wine industry in 30 years, says Stanford study
Date:6/30/2011

lerance to different temperature ranges. For example, Napa Valley widely known for its pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and other premium wines has historically experienced growing seasons with an average temperature of less than 68 F (20 C) and fewer than 30 very hot days. Grapes that thrive in that climate have done well there.

According to the study, the average temperature in Napa Valley during the growing season could increase as much as 2 F (1.1 C), with the number of very hot days increasing by 10. As a result, the amount of land with historically hospitable growing conditions could shrink by half over the next three decades, the study found. In Santa Barbara County, the amount of suitable grape-growing acreage with similar climate conditions is projected to decline by more than 20 percent as temperatures rise.

"I was surprised that local temperature changes could have such a big impact on an important industry with only 1 degree Celsius of global warming." Diffenbaugh said.

The study also predicted higher temperatures in Oregon and Washington by 2040, but with potentially different outcomes for winegrowers. Oregon's Willamette Valley could see a slight increase in the amount of total suitable acreage and a large increase in area suitable for more valuable varieties, according to the study. But in Washington's Columbia Valley, varietals that are sensitive to severely hot days could see a 30 percent reduction in suitable land area, the results showed.

Risky business

The researchers also looked at how much land could be available to growers who adapt to warmer conditions, such as by planting heat-tolerant vines or altering their cultivation practices. The study found that suitable acreage in Napa and Santa Barbara counties could actually be increased if growers are able to produce quality grapes that can tolerate up to 45 very hot days and average temperatures of 71 F (22 C) in the growing season. However, v
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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