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Climate change from the perspective of Spanish wine growers: a three-region study

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ Winery operators and viticulturalists alike face many challenges in their daily and annual work cycle; not least the challenge of producing annually a consistent quality product and getting that product to the market in an ever competitive marketplace. While climate has always been a factor when it comes to meeting this challenge, it has become all the more pronounced recently due to the effects of global climatic change. Against this background, this paper aims to explore the effects of climate change from the perspective of winery operators in three prominent Spanish wine producing regions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Wineries in La Mancha, La Rioja and Pened├Ęs, totalling 570, were contacted electronically and invited to participate in an online survey. Of these businesses, 94 participated, a 16.5 per cent response rate. Findings ‐ While it was found that generally climate change is not among growers' main challenges, three distinct groups emerged from this study: the "unbelievers," the cautiously sceptical and the "believers". This last and largest group of respondents (41.5 per cent) not only acknowledges changes due to climate change, but also strategies already in place to minimise the effects of climate change, suggesting the severity of the problem. Research limitations/implications ‐ Comparisons among the three participating wine regions were not possible due to the low number of respondents from one of the regions. Also, the total number of respondents does not allow for making the study's findings generalisable. Practical implications ‐ The wine industry, its stakeholders and government agencies need to work together to monitor any changes and find ways to address negative effects of climate change that may result in increased water usage, pesticides or changes in labour demand. Originality/value ‐ The study provides new insights into climate change according to winery operators' perspectives, an area that to date has received very limited attention from researchers.

Keywords: Climage change; Emergent strategy; Spain; Wine making; Wines

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701111105303

Publication date: 2011-02-15

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