Global Warming's Impact on Wine
The dramatic melting of the Arctic ice cap over the last decade may be a harbinger of significant warming in the Northern hemisphere in the next few decades. The consequence of such warming will be the ability of Vitis vinifera to thrive in more poleward locations than it does today, with the corollary that some areas now ideal for a given cultivar will cease to be so. In addition, pests and infections currently limited by winter cold will expand their ranges poleward. Changes in dominant climate patterns will also occur, but as temperature changes will be ongoing (in particular a shrinking differential between the poles and the Equator), shifts in rainfall patterns will also change continuously. The rise in sea level expected to accompany warming will have a direct impact on the mesoclimates of vineyards near coasts, as well as flooding some prime vineyards. Accompanying global warming has been a significant rise in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, which is changing the texture of oak used for wine barrels and may be changing the components or their proportions in ripe grapes.
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