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Ensemble projections for wine production in the Douro Valley of Portugal

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Wine production is largely governed by atmospheric conditions, such as air temperature and precipitation, together with soil management and viticultural/enological practices. Therefore, anthropogenic climate change is likely to have important impacts on the winemaking sector worldwide. An important winemaking region is the Portuguese Douro Valley, which is known by its world-famous Port Wine. The identification of robust relationships between atmospheric factors and wine parameters is of great relevance for the region. A multivariate linear regression analysis of a long wine production series (1932–2010) reveals that high rainfall and cool temperatures during budburst, shoot and inflorescence development (February-March) and warm temperatures during flowering and berry development (May) are generally favourable to high production. The probabilities of occurrence of three production categories (low, normal and high) are also modelled using multinomial logistic regression. Results show that both statistical models are valuable tools for predicting the production in a given year with a lead time of 3–4 months prior to harvest. These statistical models are applied to an ensemble of 16 regional climate model experiments following the SRES A1B scenario to estimate possible future changes. Wine production is projected to increase by about 10 % by the end of the 21st century, while the occurrence of high production years is expected to increase from 25 % to over 60 %. Nevertheless, further model development will be needed to include other aspects that may shape production in the future. In particular, the rising heat stress and/or changes in ripening conditions could limit the projected production increase in future decades.

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Douro Valley


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Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto


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We acknowledge the ENSEMBLES project (contract number GOCE-CT-2003-505539), supported by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme for the RCMs datasets. We thank the German Federal Environment Agency and the COSMO-CLM consortium for providing COSMO-CLM data. We also thank Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Viticultura Duriense (ADVID) and Fernando Alves for providing the wine production data. Part of this study was carried out under the Project Short-term climate change mitigation strategies for Mediterranean vineyards (contract number FCT-PTDC/AGR-ALI/110877/2009). This work is also supported by European Union Funds (FEDER/COMPETE - Operational Competitiveness Programme) and by national funds (FCT - Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the project FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-022696.

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Correspondence to J. A. Santos.

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Santos, J.A., Grätsch, S.D., Karremann, M.K. et al. Ensemble projections for wine production in the Douro Valley of Portugal. Climatic Change 117, 211–225 (2013).

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