Study predicts drastic changes in world wine map

09 April, 2013

A new study suggests that Britain could join New Zealand, the Netherlands, China and Tasmania as the world’s foremost wine growing regions by 2050 if climate change continues.

The study, by a collective of US academics and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, predicts traditional regions will suffer from rising temperatures.

Researcher Lee Hannah, a senior scientist at Conservation International, forecasts a sharp decline in wine production from Bordeaux, the Rhone, Tuscany and Napa Valley.

He adds that suitable grape-growing areas may drop 68% in Mediterranean Europe, 73% in parts of Australia, 51% in the Cape, 70% in California and 25% in Chile.

But large parts of northern Europe stretching from Brittany to northern Germany, the Netherlands and parts of Russia, and parts of New Zealand of higher elevation, are forecast to be suitable for viticulture by the middle of this century.

The scientists used 17 different climate models to gauge the effects on nine major wine-producing areas.

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers, said: “We are already viticulturally suitable, using the right sort of grape varieties that suit this cooler climate.

“For the time being the grape varieties we grow suit the conditions we have got, but I would imagine future generations of viticulturalists will be employing some new techniques and grape varieties to keep up with the changing climate.”

The study predicts that by 2050 the UK could be able to use traditional grape varieties popular in Mediterranean Europe instead of grapes adapted to a cool climate.   

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