Update - I've added a footnote showing how much hotter it's been getting over summer in south eastern Australia.Climate change is already happening as you know. So do wine growers in Australia. Tasmania produces some rather nice boutique wines. It's going to produce a lot more.
Some of the big wine growers are setting up more vineyards in Tasmania, replacing the ones on the mainland where it's getting a tad too hot for wine grapes. From the ABC yesterday:
Climate change is helping to drive a boom in Tasmania's wine industry with interstate investors seeking cooler growing conditions, the state's peak body has said.
The industry is expected to benefit from the long-term effects of climate change, attracting interstate investors and boosting production.
Warmer weather conditions are already causing major mainland wine producers to invest in the state after seeing potential in Tasmania's cooler climate.
Wine Tasmania, the state's peak wine body, said there had been growing interest from major winemakers who were finding mainland conditions challenging.
The trend looks set to continue with figures from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office showing wine production in the state was growing by about 10 per cent a year.
I ventured a bit further and found some other articles on the subject. This one is from three years ago at news.com.au, quoting Ross Brown of Brown Bros, one of Australia's more noted wineries from my region:
Brown Brothers Wineries CEO Ross Brown said he was sufficiently alarmed by climate change to have started relocating production of cooler varieties to Tasmania’s Tamar Ridge winery.
"Basically we are in the coolest part of Victoria (for wine) and that won't be cool enough to produce some of our main wines - for sparkling and pinot noir," Mr Brown said.
"As the vineyards warm up a few degrees some of the varieties we are currently growing won't be viable in those vineyards in 10 to 15 years time."
Mr Brown said warming also presented a major challenge for wines that are suited to warm climates - like shiraz and cabernet - which would lose quality.
"In a warmer climate that heat and earlier ripening period creates richer and fuller bodied wines," he said. "But we are seeing a consumer demand for finer wines, more elegant wines and that does not augur well for people who are already making those rich fuller bodied wines."
Other parts of the grape-growing world are also feeling the heat. In a few years, regions now covered in grape vines will look quite different and new regions will emerge. Think what that will do to the character of places like Tuscany and Bordeaux. From ScienceNews.com in February this year:
According to these projections, by midcentury Bordeaux could reach the upper temperature limits for growing red varieties, and will fall outside the ideal climate for its white grapes. Other areas are threatened too. Last year an international team of scientists showed that by 2050, some of the world’s most famous wine-making regions, including Tuscany in Italy, will shrink by nearly 70 percent.
That doesn’t mean the end of sauvignon blanc or merlot. But in the not-so-distant future, these well-recognized French wines may not come from France. Some wine producers in Champagne or Bordeaux already are moving north and setting up vineyards in southern England. There the soil is similar to the chalky substrate of Champagne, offering a hospitable environment for growing quality grapes. In other parts of the world, growers are expanding into areas previously not known for wine, setting up vineyards in India, Brazil and China.
Enjoy your favourite wine while you still can. The next bottle will be different.
A visitor here is in denial, so I've added a chart showing the temperature increase in south eastern Australia over the past few decades. The previous decade was around 0.9°C hotter than it was in the 1960s. These past three summers have been much hotter still, around 1.3°C hotter. This is the average summer temperature over the whole region. I leave it to you to imagine how hot some days and week have been and how that can affect the grape harvest.
|Data Source: BoM|
It's not just summer, other seasons are changing too.