Global warming could spell a major shakeup for the wine industry…
If you’ll only settle for the French grape, for instance, then shut your eyes now, because experts have predicted big changes for the wine industry. The news comes after recent reports outlining major shifts in production across the world. Declines have been detected in premier wine producing regions such as Bordeaux, Rhone and Tuscany, as well as in Australian, Californian, Chilean and Cape vineyards, with research pointing to a big slide over the next 40 years. It means that new areas will need to be explored for their grape-growing potential if we want to continue producing at the current rate (which, of course, we do). In fact, investigation has already begun into possible new territory. Places such as Tasmania, the cool hills of central China, north-west America and northern Europe – once thought totally inhospitable – are now being considered.
The wine grape is a fussy crop, sensitive to even the smallest changes in temperature, precipitation and light. It makes sense then, for it to be grown in places with consistently cool winters and dry summers – but global warming seems to have put paid to any consistency in many areas over recent years. Our current major regions may well try to continue their trade (and livelihood) for as long as possible, but it will doubtless prove more expensive, due to the need for processes such as irrigation and the like.
Though it’s bad news for existing producers, it’s certainly an interesting turn of events for the industry. Unless you’re a particular fan of wines from a certain region, you might think it doesn’t really matter where your wine comes from, but it seems that turning new regions into wine country would certainly not be without its difficulties. For example, those running for the hills in central China, looking for first dibs, shouldn’t forget that this is the primary habitat of the endangered giant panda – just one factor that could throw a spanner in the works. And that’s the tip of the iceberg: there’s bound to be countless more issues rising over land commandeered for wine production.
It’s a worrying business for some, but I think perhaps for now, the message for us to take away from this rather disconcerting news is to truly appreciate our existing varieties while we can… Chin-chin.