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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Australia's wine industry is moving south to escape the heat

Sou | 4:18 AM Go to the first of 49 comments. Add a comment
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.


Footnote


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.

49 comments:

numerobis said...

India and Brazil are odd places to go to escape global warming...

palindrom said...

Hmm. It may become fashionable to "pooh-pooh Australian table wines" again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbOZccv9ym8

John Mashey said...

Meanwhile, the wines in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley are already quite drinkable, by yearly testing, and continue to improve as the climate warms.

Likewise, in the UK, vineyards march North, although that's a bit out of date. They've moved faster. Caveat: unlike Okanagan, I have not yet sampled the wines of Yorkshire.

John Mashey said...

Note, for Aussies who might feel disbelief at the idea of credible Canadian wine:

Big White is a ski resort in the Okanagan area, owned by Aussies, staffed by many, which attracts many skiers/boarders from Down Under (snow is quite reliable, and Vegemite is sold...) Hence, someone you may know likely has sampled the wines.

Sou said...

I know the Okanagan valley has long been known for fruit production so I'm not surprised to hear a wine industry has started up there, John.

numerobis said...

There's decent wine in the far southern reaches of our acres of snow: the Okanagan, but also the Niagara region, and the Montérégie (the region around Montreal).

Sadly, there's still lots of utterly undrinkable dreck, so for local drinks I mostly go for beer, cider, mead, and maple wine.

Maple, of course, will be decimated by climate change. And I'm not sure the strategic maple syrup reserve will be able to compensate.

John Mashey said...

Sou: actually, the Okanagan is a fairly illustrative proxy, because the vineyards have spread from South to North.

hazym 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."

A few degrees over the next decade or two?

Well there's alarmism and there's utter bunkum (sometimes hard to differentiate). This falls into the latter category. Still, as long as they are saying the right things and are on the 'right' side of history, we'll pretend not to notice, n'est pas?

Sou said...

Yes, it's a conversation not a science paper.

Also, you're probably confusing local temps with global temps, hazym. With grape growing it's the local climate that counts.It doesn't take much to change the way the grapes ripen. As the article shows, top wine producers are already seeing changes and are shifting their production.

numerobis said...

One line rant about how often I end up often losing my posts to this interface (more often than most blogs).

I was trying to say: the vineyards growing Pinot Noir were established in 1982, 1994, and 2005.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Brothers_Milawa_Vineyard

In ten years, the one established in 1982 will have seen 4 decades of warming. At the global average of about 0.2C/decade, that will be 0.8C of warming, which means "few degrees" would be a slight exaggeration. According to the story, CSIRO predicts about 0.3C to 1.5C warming by 2030. That sounds to me like Victoria is warming up much faster than the 0.2C/decade global average, and "few degrees" may be completely true.

Kevin O'Neill said...

hazym - when speaking of specific crops, grown in limited areas, it's not only important to look at local regional temperature increases, but seasonal increases.

I know where I grew up (northern Wisconsin) the average summer temps have climbed 10 F over the last 40 years. This leads to completely different problems than if the increases were spread out uniformly across the calendar.

Sou said...

numerobis, I'm sorry if you're losing comments. Is this something that other people are having problems with too?

I can try the system Eli Rabett uses where you need to comment in a pop-up if you think that would help. (I'm reluctant because it's more awkward than commenting on the same web page, but if lots of people are having problems, I'm happy to try it).

hazym said...

Kevin - 10F seemed somewhat unbelievable so I checked. I found NOAA data for Rhinelander WI as follows:

Average summer max for the period 1981 - 2010 was 76.8
Average summer max for 2013 was 75.2
Average summer max for 2012 was 79.5
Highest ever summer max 108.0 in 1936
Avg highest max for period 1981 - 2010 92.0
Highest max in 2013 - 92.0

Eyeballing historical data, things look remarkably stable. eg avg max for July 1974 was 72.3, July 2013 72.2 (7/1970 72.7, 7/1960 70.0, 7/1950 68.5)....and so on. Tough to see 10F in there?

Memories can be deceiving. That's why we have statistics.

I'd guess that if I were to check Australia's grape regions, I'd find similar inconvenient truths. When I get time I check one or two.

hazym said...

"As the article shows, top wine producers are already seeing changes and are shifting their production."

No, the article says they are expecting problems in the upcoming decade(s) and that's why they are moving. And that expectation is based on what?

Actually this is a good example of why I, and many others, am perfectly relaxed about whatever warming is in the pipe for the next 50 years or so. Mitigation is so easy.
Let's accept that it's warming. So those that don't like the warming move polewards. Grapes move out, avocados (say) move in. We don't need government in its many guises to 'cause' this. The natural processes of the market take care of it. Those who fail to see the upcoming warming suffer, others prosper. And if there turns out to be no warming, those who didn't relocate prosper and the doomsayers suffer.

No need for the government or the UN or activist scientists to enforce a response. It'll happen naturally and its own good time.

Sou said...

Your reading comprehension is letting you down, hazym. Read the article again. Climate change is already happening and affecting grape production, as the winemakers know.

I've also added a decadal chart of summer temperature anomalies for south eastern Australia.

I'm guessing you are not a wine buff or a farmer or a scientist. You sound like a laissez-faire anarchist.

Millicent said...

"Actually this is a good example of why I, and many others, am perfectly relaxed about whatever warming is in the pipe for the next 50 years or so."

Actually, this is why: http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/politicalcartoons/ig/Political-Cartoons/The-Ostrich.htm

hazym said...

The article talks of what will happen in the next decades, not what is happening now.

Taking one example, Browns opened their Mystic Park vineyard in 1968. The closest long term station I could find to Mystic Park is Kerang. The average mean max summer temps for the 5 years surrounding 1968 is 30.77. The average mean max summer temps for the last 5 years is 31.48. ie 0.7 degree c increase.( The highest ever January day occurred in 1968).

In 2013 the highest max occurred on the 5th of the month at 44.5c. The lowest daily max occurred on the 13th at 18.5c. So max temps varied by 26c in the month and yet we are asked to believe that an average change of 0.7c in 45+ years is enough to have the wine growers heading for the hills so to speak.

The victory of hyperbole and hysteria over logic.

hazym said...

1. I don't deny climate change. I just don't wet my pants over it.
2. Fairly typical of the true believers...go straight for the invective.

Anonymous said...

"go straight for the invective"

Personally I only see humor...

But apparently deniers have a rather big lack of sense of humor.

Sou said...

The articles describe what has been happening. Not just what is going to happen. For example, the top article referred to talks about changes that have already happened. Weather is warmer. The second article I referred to does the same with "CSIRO climate change scientist and wine expert Leanne Webb examined ripening times across Australia and found grapes were maturing faster in recent warmer temperatures, affecting quality and taste."

I put up regional averages over decades and you put up a couple of comparisons for a single town? (With no link to the data I might add in typical denier fashion.) And are you seriously comparing highs and lows in a single month with long term change in climate for the region? Why not just say that the diurnal temperature can vary by 20 degrees and be done with it?

At least you did notice that temperatures in Kerang have risen substantially. As the articles demonstrate, the change in climate is causing wine makers to replant with different varieties and to invest in cooler climates. You can pick an argument with them if you want to, but the evidence is there.

The defeat of denial by data.

Millicent said...

"I don't deny climate change. I just don't wet my pants over it."

So not only are you pig ignorant about climate science, you are also pig ignorant about what denial is: Freud tells us there are three forms of denial and you fit the third category: "it isn't so bad" (the other two forms of denial are ""It aint happening" and "it aint me").

"Fairly typical of the true believers...go straight for the invective."

which is pretty hilarious coming straight after:

"I just don't wet my pants over it."

That could have been a joke on your part, but I don't think you possess even the self recognition to have made it deliberately.

Kevin O'Neill said...

hayzm - Rhinelander is a couple hundred miles from where I grew up. My mother was born in Patzau, WI and my father on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern MN.

One of the clearer signs of the changing climate is the declining moose population.

"Time-series analysis of regional moose counts (1961–2000) indicated that annual population growth rate was related negatively to mean summer temperature, with winter and summer temperatures increasing by an average of 6.8 and 2.1 C, respectively, during the 40-year period."

I can't find the USGS report on the net any longer for the 10 F summer change and what specific areas in northern WI & MN it was referring to - I'll search my hard drives to see if I saved a copy. Your notion that I was relying on memory is ironic - the reason I originally found the report was because I wondered if I was becoming the grumpy old grandpa where winters were colder, snows deeper, etc etc when I was a kid.

The local weather for those living next to Lake Superior is very susceptible to slight wind changes. 10 miles can make a 40 F difference in temperature. The joke used to be that the weathermen would always end every report with 'cooler near the lake' - which was of no use since virtually every TV viewer lived near the lake.

numerobis said...

On the phone, the interface is a bit wonky and stops letting me type, so I have to copy everything, reload, and try again -- if I screw up in that process I lose my comment.

Sou said...

Oh, I see. Sorry about that.

That'd be the mobile version. It should have a plain look - does it? Different to the normal computer version.

I think it's already about as simple as I can make it assuming your phone does bring up the frills-free web version. I'll check when I get a chance to see if I can change anything for the better.

numerobis said...

Thanks for the numbers! So, indeed, Victoria has been warming slightly faster than the global average in the past few decades.

Sou said...

Here's another article on growing wine grapes, this time in Cornwall.

Sam Lindo, Wine Maker at Camel Valley Vineyard said he was excited to take part in the research.

He said: “Here at Camel Valley we have seen things warming up since we started in 1989 and winemaking would simply not have been possible in Cornwall in the 50s and 60s.

hazym said...

I wonder if they could have grown grapes in the 1150s and 1160s?

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/medieval-warmth-and-english-wine/

Oh sure, I know...anything that happened before those evil laissez-faire anarchists (sheesh!) started polluting the atmosphere is irrelevant.

hazym said...

Sou - "With no link to the data I might add in typical denier fashion."

Well " it's a conversation not a science paper"...now who said that?

I got the data from the BOM...http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/

"And are you seriously comparing highs and lows in a single month with long term change in climate for the region? "

No. I'm saying that this one month is a good example of all the other months I looked at and that the spread of daily maximums is of that sort of magnitude. Equally if these poor delicate vines are able to handle a variation of over 20c in a single month, they're probably gunna struggle through a change of c. 0.7c in 40years.

"I put up regional averages over decades and you put up a couple of comparisons for a single town?"

I put up data for the station closest to the vineyard in question. It seemed to me that, if you're going to make decisions about what's happening to temps in your local area, you look at your local area. But perhaps they did decide that the grapes would be affected by the Melbourne UHI !

"At least you did notice that temperatures in Kerang have risen substantially."
'Substantial' is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I don't see a rise of 0.7c to an average of 32c as much more than a passing curiosity and probably not far from the MOE.

hazym said...

Oh, so a denier can be someone who accepts the science but is insufficiently terrorised by the predictions based on 'the science'.

OK, got it.

Based on that I'm assuming there must be lots of deniers among Cook's 97%.

Kevin O'Neill said...

hayzm - I provided you with data and a link to research showing a 12 F seasonal change in the weather over the 40 year period from 1960 to 2000. Are you ready to admit such changes exist? Do you think such changes have zero effect on flora and fauna? Should we delve into the dozens, hundreds of phenological studies that show the changes and effects?

No one claims that *every* area changes, or that changes are uniform.

Millicent said...

"Oh, so a denier can be someone who accepts the science but is insufficiently terrorised by the predictions based on 'the science'. "

But thats not accepting the science. The scionce accepted by every prestigious scientific institution on the planet. But you know better than the Royal Society or the National Academy of Science etc. etc. .... because?

Terrorised? I love the way you are continuing the "true believers...go straight for the invective" joke. That's very good, or it would be if only it was wit rather than hypocrisy.

hazym said...

" I provided you with data and a link to research..."

You provided a link to research on moose which asserted there was 6.8c temperature increase in NW Minnesota between 1961 and 2000. Now if, like me, you were skeptical of such assertions you check for yourself.

I did. I found a station in NW MN called ADA (station id GHCND:USC00210018). It showed, among lots of other things that there has been NO increase in summer temps between 1961 and 2000 (mean summer 70.1 and 66.4 F respectively).

Even if you looked at 1998 and 2005 (the hottest years since the Big Bang or whatever the current hyperbole is) there has been NO summer temp increase.

Now I was looking at just two end points but eye-balling other years, its not looking good for your memory.

I could go and do all the work to check trends and winter numbers etc etc but I think it'd be a wide moose chase :) .

(As an aside, and for your benefit you should bear in mind when looking at these types of studies that it is concomitant on people like these scientists to link their work to AGW if they want funding).

Can some places have higher (or lower) than average temp changes? Sure (but 12F is a stretch). But if that was the case it ought to be clear that the reason is local - there has to be something special about local circumstances that cause such outliers. Its not caused by CO2 increases. You need to remember what the "G" in AGW stands for (hint: its not "Gee its hot today").

hazym said...

oh so you're not terrorised by the thought of a 2c warming in the next 50-100 years? Good. Glad we are in agreement.

Millicent said...

No I am not terrorised by it. There is no act of terrorism involved.

I think it will be a catastrophy for humanity, but that doesn't require any great powers of prediction. Movements like Boko Haram are already being fuelled by the impact of climate change on pastoral and agrarian communities in Africa. That's where the terrorism is: not at the IPCC.

So no, we don't agree on this. I am horrified by what is happening, you just don't care. Its just that you (apparently) struggle to understand and use the English language as well as climate science.

Millicent said...

That's a novel spelling of the word catastrophe but nvm.

adelady said...

"The article talks of what will happen in the next decades, not what is happening now."

There's another thing to bear in mind when grape growers talk about temperatures.

Vines for specific varieties often have requirements for winter lows - in much the same way as many varieties of fruit have "chill factors". Even if there were no changes at all in summer highs or in onset of spring or flowering/fruiting or in unseasonal frosts or in the predictability of seasons generally, some varieties would still suffer in quantity or quality of fruit if the climate changed so that there is too short a cold period or the coldest temperatures are not cold enough.

It's not much good if summer temps are okay, but you lose your crop every couple of years because earlier onset of spring means that what would once have been a fairly ordinary, quite manageable, late frost can wipe out all the fruit that's developing a few weeks earlier than it used to.

adelady said...

"NO increase in summer temps between 1961 and 2000 (mean summer 70.1 and 66.4 F respectively).

Even if you looked at 1998 and 2005 (the hottest years since the Big Bang or whatever the current hyperbole is) there has been NO summer temp increase."

We're discussing moose, right?

What about the earliest and latest days for snow cover and snowmelt. Are winter temps cold enough, long enough to support the plants that moose prefer? Do the mating and birthing seasons still match up with the nutrition preferences of the herds at those times?

Have you checked whether there's been any change in the USA climate category/ies for which plants will/won't do well in that particular area? That's far and away the best indicator for how much individual locations have or haven't changed their suitability for any given plant or commercial crop. Which can be an indicator of whether the area is still preferred by any given herbivore.

Sou said...

It's very evident that you know zilch about wine grapes, hazym.

As the wine experts said, a change in climate makes all the difference. Each season produces differences in vintages because of weather variations. A change in climate means much more than that, not just differences from one vintage to the next but in whether a particular variety can produce a saleable vintage.

hazym said...

oh dear Millicent. People who are terrorised aren't, necessarily, the victims of terrorism. They simply suffer terror. Sometimes its warranted, sometimes its the result of misunderstanding the situation. People who suffer night terrors don't dream of being attacked by bin Laden but they are nonetheless 'terrorised'. For someone who seems to take pride in their English language skills, this rather limited understanding of the word should be a little embarrassing...but I suspect not. Perhaps less time reading #bringbackourgirls twitter feeds and more time on things like this.

Its not that I don't care about the consequences of CAGW. I just don't think it'll happen. I agree with the science that the earth has warmed. I tend to agree that 50% or so of the latest warming is due to CO2 et al. That's the science. The rest is prognostication and I don't accept it. I note that the more we learn the lower the TCR/ECR and I don't think we'll even get to a doubling of CO2 (560ppm).

So no, I'm not terrorised (or horrified if you prefer) by the CAGW scenarios because I don't think they are likely to occur. Its not that I don't care...its just that I think our concerns, energies and treasure would be better devoted to real rather than imagined problems.

Millicent said...

"People who are terrorised aren't, necessarily, the victims of terrorism. They simply suffer terror."

But as I have pointed out, the import of what you are saying is that people are being terrorised by the claims of the IPCC - claims which you deny. Don't keep editing the conversation so you can continue to cling to some small shred of credibility.

"Its not that I don't care about the consequences of CAGW. I just don't think it'll happen."

But - as I have already pointed out - it is already happening. Again you are editing the conversation to maintain some pretence that what you say is credible.

"So no, I'm not terrorised (or horrified if you prefer) by the CAGW scenarios because I don't think they are likely to occur. Its not that I don't care"

But as it is already happening the obvious conclusion is that you don't care. And so you deny.

I look forward to your next response which will no doubt also have little connection to what is being said or what is actually happening. And that is a very good demonstration of why you merit the term 'denier'.

bill said...

I just don't wet my pants over it.

What is it about Deniers and toilet-training?

Millicent said...

"What is it about Deniers and toilet-training?"

You recall the age profile of the typical climate change denier?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1273322/

Harry Twinotter said...

I recently charted out the BOM ACORN SAT temps data for several NSW stations as a lark, and I was surprised about the clear upward trend in maximum AND minimum temps (I think the increase in minimum temps is missed by many).

A caveat is I first averaged the daily data by year, and just ignore days that had no reading - seemed to make sense to do it this way to reduce the effect of seasonal variations.

I presented the charts to a number of global warming dissenters, and they were dismissed out of hand.

What I do struggle to get across to the dissents is a number of important facts:

a. A several degree increase in the average temp is a big deal for Australia due the shifting of extremes towards an excess of very hot days.
b. The increase in average temps will be, for all intents and purposes, permanent. Australia will have a new climate. It won't "cool" down again like some seem to think.
c. The increase is average temps will accelerate if nothing is done. So we will in effect get a "new" climate every couple of decades.

Joe said...

hazym, I see...you confirmed your bias through real "sciencey" analysis.

hazym said...

Thanks Joe. I'm humbled by your ability to refute my data and viewpoints with your vast knowledge and assembly of counter-facts.

hazym said...

Fine Millicent. Under your definition whereby anyone who isn't as scared of the future as you are, is a denier, then I'm a denier (according to you). As I said, I'd venture that a goodly number of Cook's 97% are thereby denounced.

Millicent said...

"Under your definition whereby anyone who isn't as scared of the future as you are, is a denier"

Again, your inability to understand the English language is startling - or it would be if it wasn't obvious that you have a desperate need to deny that you are a climate change denier; and if you cannot manage that, you will settle for making the term meaningless.

John Mashey said...

Another useful article is Climate change will leave wine lovers drunker and poorer by Gwynn Guilford, a day or two ago.

ligne said...

"Let's accept that it's warming. So those that don't like the warming move polewards. Grapes move out, avocados (say) move in. We don't need government in its many guises to 'cause' this. The natural processes of the market take care of it."

the thing is, mitigation isn't "so easy". it takes half a decade for new vines to become fully established, and factors such as sunshine, terrain aspect and soil composition also mean that wine producers can't just trivially up sticks and move wherever they want.

mitigation has major costs associated with it, which will inevitably be passed onto we the consumers. lucky us.

so we all get to indirectly pay for the costs that (parts of) the energy industry are externalising, all so they can artificially distort their own market. how is that supposed to exemplify effective free markets again?