Climate Change and the Wine Industry

May 12, 2023 | Viticulture

It’s been already 30 MONTHS with almost 0 rain in Catalonia…

Some months ago I visited Recaredo. As one of the top biodynamic producers in Spain, they were very concerned about the lack of rainfall. If it persisted it will probably force them to change the way they conceive viticulture.

It is no secret that rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and shifting growing conditions are posing significant challenges to vineyards and wineries worldwide. This is affecting the wine industry severely in many different ways:

1. Shift in wine regions:
Global warming is causing a shift in traditional wine regions. As temperatures rise, some wine regions are becoming too hot for certain grape varieties to thrive, while other regions that were previously unsuitable for wine production are now becoming viable. This is leading to changes in wine styles and flavors as winemakers are forced to adapt to new growing conditions.

2. Changing Harvest Dates.
Rising temperatures are causing grapevines to ripen earlier, resulting in changing harvest dates. This can impact the quality and character of the wine, as grapes may become overripe or lack the desired acidity levels. Winemakers are being forced to adjust their harvest schedules and winemaking techniques to maintain the desired balance and style of their wines.

3. Increased disease pressure
Global warming is also increasing the risk of pests and diseases in vineyards. Warmer temperatures can create favorable conditions for pests such as grapevine moths and diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew, which can damage grapevines and reduce yields.

4. Water Stress
Water is a critical component of wine production, and global warming is affecting water availability in many wine regions. Changes in rainfall patterns and increased evaporation rates are leading to water stress in vineyards, which can impact vine growth, grape quality, and overall wine production. Winemakers are having to implement water-saving measures, such as drip irrigation and dry farming, to cope with water scarcity.

5. Economic impact
All these challenges significantly impact grape yields, wine quality, and production costs. This can result in economic losses for vineyards and wineries, therefore affecting the whole wine industry.

We can now only take action to try and mitigate global warming impacts.

Hopefully, we will still have vineyards in Spain in the next 50-100 years 🙏