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Very high resolution bioclimatic zoning of Portuguese wine regions: present and future scenarios

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Wine production is strongly affected by weather and climate and thus highly vulnerable to climate change. In Portugal, viticulture and wine production are an important economic activity. In the present study, current bioclimatic zoning in Portugal (1950–2000) and its projected changes under future climate conditions (2041–2070) are assessed through the analysis of an aggregated, categorized bioclimatic index (CatI) at a very high spatial resolution (near 1 km). CatI incorporates the most relevant bioclimatic characteristics of a given region, thus allowing the direct comparison between different regions. Future viticultural zoning is achieved using data from 13 climate model transient experiments following the A1B emission scenario. These data are downscaled using a two-step method of spatial pattern downscaling. This downscaling approach allows characterizing mesoclimatic influences on viticulture throughout Portugal. Results for the recent past depict the current spatial variability of Portuguese viticultural regions. Under future climate conditions, the current viticultural zoning is projected to undergo significant changes, which may represent important challenges for the Portuguese winemaking sector. The changes are quite robust across the different climate models. A lower bioclimatic diversity is also projected, resulting from a more homogeneous warm and dry climate in most of the wine regions. This will lead to changes in varietal suitability and wine characteristics of each region.

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This study was carried out under the ClimVineSafe Project: Short-term climate change mitigation strategies for Mediterranean vineyards (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia—FCT, Portugal, contract PTDC/AGR-ALI/110877/2009). This work is also supported by European Union Funds (FEDER/COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme) and by Portuguese national funds (FCT)—under the project FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-022692. The authors acknowledge the ENSEMBLES project (contract number GOCE-CT-2003-505539) and the WorldClim dataset ( We thank Rabea Haas (University of Cologne) for discussions on an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to H. Fraga.

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Fraga, H., Malheiro, A.C., Moutinho-Pereira, J. et al. Very high resolution bioclimatic zoning of Portuguese wine regions: present and future scenarios. Reg Environ Change 14, 295–306 (2014).

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