Thursday, April 18, 2013

Helping the wine industry adapt to climate change

PR Web: E-VitiClimate is an EU-funded project to educate grapegrowers and winemakers across Europe on the potential impact of climate change and what measures can be taken to mitigate that impact. The pilot phase is complete and the learning materials are now available, free to use, at

With a major study recently published by the US National Academy of Science predicting significant changes to winegrowing regions, the stated goal of the E-VitiClimate project is to “maintain the richness and diversity of European vineyards in the face of the challenges posed by climate change”. The website has two modules and a range of educational tools enabling industry professionals to acquire fundamental knowledge about the impact of climate change on wine production.

A changing climate can impact wine production both in the vineyard and the winery. For example, vines can change their rates of development leading to changing harvest dates and potentially unbalanced sugar/acid/phenolics in grapes. Vineyards may also have to adapt to changing patterns of water stress and the introduction of new pests and diseases caused by changing vineyard ecosystems. The wine itself can suffer from changing alcohol and acidity levels and increased vintage variability.

To better understand these developments, the first module is entitled ‘Global Climate Change, its impact on European vineyards and possible adaptations’. Over a series of nine lessons this module provides an overview of the issues behind climate change globally including a summary of the scenarios developed by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the evolution of viticulture and wine production and advice on possible adaptations in the winery and the vineyard. The module also provides information on soil, water resources, greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures, grapevine pests & disease and the natural elements that influence local climates (i.e. latitude, altitude, inclination, etc.)...

The Douro Valley in Portugal, a wine-growing region, shot by Husond, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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