TWE working to resist climate change

Treasury Wine Estates is working on technology which will water vines underground as well as increasing fermentation capacities in efforts to decrease the impact of climate change on its vineyards around the world, reported Reuters.

treasury_wine_estatesTWE has been monitoring changing temperatures and the impact of the changes on their vineyards that include those of Penfolds and Wolf Blass.

Speaking to Reuters this week, TWE Chief Supply Officer Stuart McNab said: “You can adapt to climate change or you can react to it. You’ve got time to react, but you’ve got to know what’s happening.”

Australia’s CSIRO has projected an increase of 0.3 to 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030 in Australia’s main wine regions, reducing grape quality by 12 to 57 percent and TWE, the worlds second largest winemaker, is investigating means of offsetting the predicted decline in rainfall and rises in temperatures.

Rising temperatures mean more water is lost through evaporation and changing temperatures result in altered ripening times and a compressed harvest that puts pressure on winery capacities.

Underground irrigation is one of the new technologies being tested by TWE, where drip irrigation is moved underground to avoid excessive evaporation and enables winemakers to monitor water levels remotely and with greater accuracy.

climate-change-wine-industry-2050-map-large

Climate change is expected to cause dramatic changes to the worlds viticultural regions (Credit: Conservation International)

McNab said that, if the technology works, it will be rolled out as vineyards are re-planted: “It’s something we are focused on. It’s treating water as a scarce and precious resource, but the vines can still produce the same quality.”

In regards to potential capacity issues, TWE is expanding their fermentation facilities for luxury wines to deal with the shorter harvesting periods.

They are also investing in cooler regions as a means of alleviating the impact of future changes.

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