Why does this climate change impact on phenology matter? Because it means that the regions TODAY that are best suited for the grape varieties planted there may not be the best in the coming decades
So what can we do about? Lots, it turns out.
There is lots of work in genomics, for example, to develop grape varieties that are better able to deal with climate change: ucdavis.edu/news/genomics-…
There are lots of management options as well: irrigation, relocating vineyards to take advantage of specific microclimates, etc
But a third option is to actually leverage the HUGE degree of wineqrape diversity that's already available
Most of us are probably most familiar with the classic international varieties you see any restaurant: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, etc.
These varieties are widely planted across the world
But there are actually over 1000 winegrape varieties-it's just that most are not grown outside of Europe, and even in Europe they are not widely planted (Figure 1, temporalecology.org/wp-content/upl…)
Spain and Italy, for example, have literally hundreds of heat tolerant, late ripening grape varieties that can produce awesome wine in hot climates
Which is great, because it gives us another opportunity to adapt: turnover
Which is really just a fancy way of saying, start planting grape varieties that are going to be better adapted to the climate than the ones that have been traditionally grown.
Of course, the physical science side of things is easy. But as with all adaptation measures, the future trajectory will depend as much on values and social decisions as anything else
Will winegrowers want to replace Pinot Noir with Sangrantino and Xinomavro in Burgundy, France? Or would they prefer to stick with Pinot Noir, even if the climate becomes suboptimal? Or with they adopt genomics and new management practices to try to keep the status quo?
I don't know. More importantly, there's no clear right or wrong answer.
But if I could hang my career on one easy prediction-people will still keep making wine in all these places, regardless of what the climate does.
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