Does Global Warming=Homegrown English Claret?

When considering the apparent rise in global temperatures, wine types tend to ask, what will be come of my Bordeaux or Napa Cab or German Riesling as the temperatures continue to rise? There is a worry that these wines, forced to be produced with grapes asked to thrive in warmer temperatures will just not be the same.

Decanter Magazine has an article
concerning just his issue and how it was addressed at the recent World Conference on Global Warming and Wine held in Barcelona  on March 24-25. Here is an interesting conclusion from one of the presentations:

"Taking the Mean July Temperature of various regions he showed how their
viticulture character would change if you add 2degreesC.

Santa Maria, with a MJT of 17.3C would become Napa, at 19.3, St
Helena at 21.7C would become Stockton at 23.5C, Healdsburg would become
Modesto, and Fresno, Bakersfield."

If you know anything about the California grape growing industry you know that the last thing you want is to grow just about any grapes meant for fine wine in the areas Modesto, Fresno or Bakersfield.

What intrigues me more, however, is not what will be come of the current top wine grape growing regions as the temperatures rise over the next 50 years, but rather which areas will be transformed into winegrowing meccas as a result of the temperature swing.

I wonder, will the rise in temperature finally give the English what they’ve always wanted, the perfect climate for producing claret on their own shores? Will German Pinot Noir break out of it’s also ran status as these wines become richer and more endowed as a result of more heat? Will Oregon Pinot no longer be an "on the edge" sort of endeavor but rather a sure thing as in Russian River Valley?

The possibilities are endless.

In the end, if the warming trend continues, I suppose we will see our traditional growing regions slowly switch to more appropriate varieties for the hotter climate.

2 Responses

  1. Cory Kleinschmidt - March 30, 2006

    Tom, are you being sarcastic, or are you really looking forward to the side effects of global warming? From what I’ve heard, it’s hardly a cause for celebration!
    Yes, some new wine-growing regions may sprout up as warmer temperatures migrate northward, but the devastating consequences of a global sea rise that could inundate coastal cities around the world would seem to offset those supposed benefits!

  2. tom - March 30, 2006

    Clearly, the benefits of new growing regions are offset by the impact overall. I was merely looking to change the way the wine community might look at the impact. To this point the question is, how does it affect established growing regions, rather than which marginal or non-wine growing regions would be opened up.

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