Vinexpo to address climate change

Experts, including a former senior advisor to Barack Obama, will discuss the impact of climate change on the wine industry at this year’s Vinexpo.

Map showing current (1961-2000) wine-growing areas and future wine-growing areas (2041-2060): regions with current suitability that decreases by midcentury are in red, areas with current suitability that is retained are in light green and dark green, areas not suitable in the current time period but suitable in the future are in light blue and dark blue.
Fig 1 in Lee Hannah, Patrick R. Roehrdanz, Makihiko Ikegami, Anderson V. Shepard, M. Rebecca Shaw, Gary Tabord, Lu Zhie, Pablo A. Marquet and Robert J. Hijmans, ‘Climate change, wine, and conservation,’ PNAS, Vol. 110, No. 17, p 6908.

The forum, entitled ‘Fire and Rain: Climate Change and the Wine Industry,’ will feature an expert panel consisting of John P. Holdren, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Harvard physicist and international expert on energy and climate change; Miguel A Torres Sr, president and managing director of Bodegas Torres; Gaia Gaja, co-owner of Gaja Winery and Katharine Hall, former US Ambassador, international trade advisor and owner of Hall Vineyards.

The panel will discuss topics such as the reduction of wine-growing land due to climate change and the impact and results of these changes. As much as 73% of the land in use today will be lost by 2050, it has been estimated.

These figures are based on the fact that, since the 1980s, average temperatures have increased by almost a degree. Although slight, this rise affects the entire vine growing cycle, warmer temperatures, as we have witnessed this year, bringing budburst forwards and resulting in earlier harvests. In Burgundy, for example, harvest is now much earlier, taking place in late September compared to mid-October in the 1940s.

Commenting on the decision to hold the conference, Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise said: “Climate change is an increasingly serious concern for winegrowers worldwide as even small changes in average temperature and rainfall can greatly affect production.”

“This will be an invaluable forum for the wine community to learn, share their challenges, and develop strategies to succeed.”

Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of forum partners Wine Spectator, added: “Our panelists are leaders in the effort to understand and manage these challenges of a changing climate on the wine industry.”

This follows news of widespread frost damage across England and much of Northern Europe, with Denbies estate, near Dorking in Surrey, losing 75% of its crop and winegrowers in Bordeaux reporting their worst frost since 1991.

This year’s Vinexpo will be held in Bordeaux from 18 June to 21 June.

Read more:

Sub-zero temperatures wipe out crops across England 

Frost alerts in Bordeaux

Severe frosts wreak havoc in Champagne

Burgundy to be completely covered by ‘hail shield’

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