Warming Wine

I heard that within 15 years, global warming will have made Napa County too hot to grow good wine grapes. Is that true? What other changes are we going to see during our lifetimes because of global warming?…

Hmmm… well assuming 0.2-0.3 oC/decade, globally, and maybe twice that for NH continent, then 15 years gets you maybe 1 oC, on average. Is that enough to see a response from grapes? I really don’t know.

In the UK we’re in the middle of a heatwave, which a little thundery rain doesn’t seem to touch much, and its unpleasant since were not used to it. If it gets any worse, and recurrs next year, then I predict that airconditioning will start to spread here in a way it hasn’t up to now. Already we have advice in the papers about whether to put your bottled wine in the fridge if it goes over 25 oC…

Comments

  1. #1 Jordan
    2006/07/27

    I am a global warming skeptic, in the sense that I have not personally evaluated the available evidence and made an informed decision about it. But I certainly have read a great deal about the consensus that reportedly exists.

    I think predictions are great, because they are testable. Here, a prediction is made about grapes and projected temperatures.

    Aside from the doomsday predictions, where else can one find this sort of thing? Where are the real, tangible predictions and impacts of climate scientists?

    [As to the actual predictions... assuming you don't want to download and analyse the data yourself, then looking at the IPCC WG I report from 2001 (www.ipcc.ch) is probably your best bet -W]

  2. #2 Brian S.
    2006/07/27

    Grapes are grown in much warmer places than Napa, throughout California. I think a bigger concern would be water supply if precip patterns change. I guess some colder-loving varietals could get knocked out.

    Some friends wanted me to go with them to Napa on Sunday (projected 100-plus temperature). I firmly declined.

  3. #3 hank
    2006/07/27

    “… “We’re seeing some relief coming, if you can call 105 relief,” said National Weather Service forecaster Jim Dudley. “We’re inching away from this superhot air mass we’ve had over us, though it’s tricky. … It’s hard to get those things to move.”

    “The heat might mean a slightly smaller harvest of wine grapes, said Karen Ross, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. When temperatures rise, vines stop growing to conserve water.

    “They’re just like people,” she said. “They kind of shut down when it gets this hot.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2006/07/27/national/a035841D31.DTL&type=printable

  4. #4 ivy privy
    2006/07/31

    I would think a consistent change in climate could be dealt with by introducing varieties appropriate for that climate. If the change means more unpredictability, that might be tough to accomodate.