Study: Climate Change Will Threaten Wine Production

The Mediterranean may one day no longer be suitable for wine production.

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"Wine production may expand into areas that are good wildlife habitats, such as the Yellowstone and Yukon conservation areas," says the study's author.

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Vino connoisseurs, take note: Your next fine wine might come from Yellowstone or Canada. Climate change is quickly making it harder for some of the most famous wine-making regions in the Mediterranean to produce grapes, according to a new study published Monday.

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Nearly three quarters of the world's wine-producing regions might become unsuitable for grape production by 2050, according to the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Climate change has the potential to drive changes in viticulture that will impact Mediterranean ecosystems and to threaten native habitats in areas of expanding suitability," the study suggests. "Redistribution in wine production may occur within continents, moving from declining traditional wine-growing regions to areas of novel suitability."

Lee Hannah, of the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Ecosystem Science and Economics and lead author of the study, says that his study doesn't suggest the end of wine, but drinkers might soon be surprised at bottle labels.

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He says the outlook is particularly bleak for the Mediterranean, which is expected to see increased temperatures along with less precipitation over the coming decades, meaning viticulturists in the region will need to change the varieties of grapes they're growing, use alternative irrigation systems or stop growing wine grapes altogether.

"I think wine lovers will find their wines will come from unusual areas, and the varieties they're used to getting from places like France will be changing," he says. "Enthusiasts will have to begin thinking about wine in a different way."

Hannah says that conservationists and viticulturists will need to discuss the possible impacts of global warming before new wine-growing regions are opened up.

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"It'll cause new issues with wildlife and freshwater ecosystems," he says. "Wine production may expand into areas that are good wildlife habitats, such as the Yellowstone and Yukon conservation areas. People will soon need to think about the conservation of species such as grizzlies and moose as wine and other crops move in."

 

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