Climate has a notable effect on wine, shaping the character of the wine through the grapes. Whether one sees it as the great global warming swindle or the biggest problem facing humanity in the modern era, the problems faced by the wine industry remain.
A grape harvest over ahot year in a warm climate can produce a good vintage and initial studies have indicated that climate warming could prove beneficial for some wine growing regions, but excessive climate change can be disastrous to the wine maker. The effects of global warming include hotter climates, which produce over-sweet wine with high alcohol content, which is not generally appropriate.
Problems arising with global warming and associated climate change include irrigation problems, diseases spreading in the vineyards and soil erosion from heavy rainfall or flooding. The rise in temperature may be welcomed, but only up until a certain point, beyond which it becomes damaging.
In 2003 Europe experienced a heat-wave which is indicative of the type of changes the wine industry could be facing, with wine regions in the north of France benefiting, but the vineyards in the south of France temperatures got to be very high, which was not as beneficial.
Indeed southern Europe in general and California are particularly susceptible to the threat of global warming and the climate change which goes along with it. Specialists foresee the reduction of wine regions due to the climate strain, with California only being able to use the coastal wine growing areas cooled by the sea breeze toward the end of the century. This is not an immediate problem, but scientists associated with the wine industry are looking for ways to reduce global warming gases and factors which can be considered the cause of global warming.
For the time being wine regions affected by rising temperatures are facing the global warming facts,adopting techniques to reduce the effect of climate warming, such as planting the vines in shallow soil to reduce water consumption, introducing controlled irrigation and shading the grapes from the sun. Indeed, the warmest wine regions are already having to face up to the challenges of global warming.
You will find below a selection of useful information sites and resources
BBC Weather - The BBC Weather Centre provides UK and Worldwide weather services and maps for temperature, wind, satellite, pressure and radar.
Met Office - Weather and climate change
Climate Change - Climate change is a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years.
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