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Global Warming Destroys Wine Industry

Global Warming spells disaster for much of the multibillion-dollar wine industry.

What next? Food Security at risk.
Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent - and possibly as much as 81 percent - by the end of this century, according to a study Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper indicates increasing weather problems for grapes in such areas as California's Napa and Sonoma valleys.

The main problem: An increase in the frequency of extremely hot days, according to Noah Diffenbaugh of the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University.

Grapes used in premium wines need a consistent climate. When temperatures top about 95 degrees they have problems maintaining photosynthesis and the sugars in the grapes can break down, Diffenbaugh said in a telephone interview.

"The lion's share of the industry is in California, so it's a huge concern from a wine quality standpoint."
-James A. Kennedy, professor at Oregon State University

"We have very long-term studies of how this biological system (of vineyards) responds to climate," said Diffenbaugh, and that gives the researchers confidence in their projection. Diffenbaugh is a co-author of the paper.

Scientists and environmental experts have become increasingly alarmed in recent years by accumulating gasses such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.

A panel of climate scientists convened by the National Academy of Sciences reported last month that the Earth is heating up and "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming." The scientists said average global surface temperatures rose by about 1 degree in the 20th century. While that may not sound like much, many blame it for melting glaciers, weather changes - perhaps even more hurricanes - and threats of spreading diseases.

James A. Kennedy, a professor of food science and technology at Oregon State University, said he was shocked by the report on the potential effects on wine grapes.

"We're definitely, in the wine industry, starting to be concerned about global warming," said Kennedy, who was not part of the research team.

"The lion's share of the industry is in California, so it's a huge concern from a wine quality standpoint," he said. For people in the industry "this paper is going to be a bit of a shocker."

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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good 20.Jul.2006 14:59

xpensivewino

Good. Winegrape growing is one of the dirtiest, pollution intensive forms of agriculture. Chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides galore. I won't even get into the sulfides and other crap they add later. Bon Appetite!

big wine corporatinos buying up land in oregon driving small farms out 20.Jul.2006 18:34

sulfites??

i just heard that a large corporate wine grower purchased 1600 acres of prestine oregon land around salem and that this trend is going to continue as mother nature destroys the wine crops in cali.

in '99, i had a chance to go to the souther caucasus mountains in azerbaijan where they have been growing wine grapes sustainably for almost 3000 years. the galcier water from the upper caucasus, which also feeds the fertile crecent in iraq produces some of the best wine grapes in the world.

they have never used synthetic chemicals to grow their wine and it's some of the best wine i've ever had.

the practice of growing wine with synthetic chemicals should more appropriately be called land mining. rape and pillage mother earth and when she's had enough move your mining operation else where and continue raping and pillaging mother earth leaving no top soil for future generations.

we could learn some lessons from the so called "backward" cultures of the world, where the top soil is just as vital as it was 3000 years ago.

another huge problem with the multi-million dollar operations moving north is it drives land prices, which will eventually lead to the extinction of the small organic farms in oregon.

wine? 20.Jul.2006 19:18

this thing here

what about wheat, soy, and corn? what about pasture and plain vegetation that cows feed on? that chickens feed on? that humans feed on everytime we put a slice in the toaster?

entire climate zones are going to shift, who the f knows where. the plains may become desert, the tundra forest, the deserts wet.

yeah, it will suck not to have wine. but what about the main course, the food?...