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Global Warming: Could it Lead to a Wine Shortage?

It is no surprise that the world is facing many negative consequences due to climate change. The damaging effects impact all of our daily lives, from severe rising ocean levels to habitat loss – we are taking chances which can and will lead to irreversible changes globally. One threat however, which may have escaped much attention is that global warming threatens to cause a wine shortage. 

Not the Wine!

Researchers have looked at the regions that are suitable for growing 11 varieties of grapes  and it is evident that global warming seems to be affecting not only the land they grow, but also these particular grapes.

Morales- Castilla, lead author of the study ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ highlights how the wine shortage was partly down to factors such as changes in rainfall. Although, Castilla suggests that the main driver was heat, which was likely to cause damage to these particular grape varieties. Likewise, this could speed up the ripening process and evidently, make the grapes too high in sugar.

What Would Happen with a 2% Temperature Rise?

A rise of just 2C puts the annual maximum temperature up by 2.6%. This may sound ideal for those who want that yearly summer glow, but it comes with the price of losing 56% of suitable land for growing grapes compared to the 1970’s.

Ultimately, research has found that if no action is taken, a 2C rise (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels – which the world is on track to exceed, would lead to devastating results. Similarly, a 4C increase would wipe out a staggering 85% of vineyard land, resulting in a huge strain on farmyards and workers.

The growing areas in different countries may be affected more than others. Countries that are considered warmer would be less able to compensate for future losses. For example, land loss for the varieties of wine could hit 90% for Italy and Spain under 4C of heating.

So… Just Plant More Seeds?

It is easier said than done, since replanting or regrafting vineyards is expensive. Although, not all is lost. Morales Castilla acknowledges that there are positives to be taken from this. 

“The positive message is that we can still adapt viticulture to climate change – and diversity is a very interesting tool to do that. But the warning … is we should limit warming [as much as] possible, because the more warming we have, the fewer options for adaptation.”

Scientists have also suggested that as the planet continues to heat, new areas around the world – including parts of the UK could become suitable for wine grapes.

Watch this space!

For more information regarding the potential shortage of wine, Humanosity suggest that you read:

Guardian’s article & TW News

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