Wining and Declining
Global warming screwing up wine country
Bad news for oenophiles: Global warming is messing with wine country. Wine grapes are highly temperature-sensitive, and if the globe gets much hotter (which smart folks say it will), famed wine-producing regions like France’s Burgundy and California’s Napa Valley may lose optimum climate for their grape varieties. Already, warmer temperatures in southern Spain are driving grape growers to shade vineyards, develop heat-resistant grapes, and in some cases, move to the mountains. Climate change could reduce the world’s viable grape-growing regions by nearly 80 percent by the end of the century. Of course, other regions may then warm up enough to become prime wine country — in the U.S., those could include upstate New York, coastal Michigan, the Puget Sound area in Washington state, and Virginia. Meanwhile, dozens of vineyards in California are doing their bit to address the problem by running irrigation systems on solar power.