, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 319-343

Climate Change and Global Wine Quality

Abstract

From 1950 to 1999 the majority of the world's highest quality wine-producing regions experienced growing season warming trends. Vintage quality ratings during this same time period increased significantly while year-to-year variation declined. While improved winemaking knowledge and husbandry practices contributed to the better vintages it was shown that climate had, and will likely always have, a significant role in quality variations. This study revealed that the impacts of climate change are not likely to be uniform across all varieties and regions. Currently, many European regions appear to be at or near their optimum growing season temperatures, while the relationships are less defined in the New World viticulture regions. For future climates, model output for global wine producing regions predicts an average warming of 2 C in the next 50 yr. For regions producing high-quality grapes at the margins of their climatic limits, these results suggest that future climate change will exceed a climatic threshold such that the ripening of balanced fruit required for existing varieties and wine styles will become progressively more difficult. In other regions, historical and predicted climate changes could push some regions into more optimal climatic regimes for the production of current varietals. In addition, the warmer conditions could lead to more poleward locations potentially becoming more conducive to grape growing and wine production.