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Climate Induced Historic and Future Changes in Viticulture

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Grapes are an extremely climate sensitive crop and vines have been cultivated for several thousand years. Over time many grape growing regions have been established, whose specific climatic conditions matched the capacity of certain varieties to produce wines of distinctive character. Through warm and cool periods of the past, climatic boundaries for successful grape growing were traditionally located between the latitudes 30 and 50°N and 30 and 40°S, or encompassing the 12° to 22°C isotherms for the growing season (April-October, October-April). Climate change in the future will likely cause these boundaries to move north and south, respectively. Concomitantly, varietal suitability will be affected and a disruption of historically grown combinations (and identifications) of certain varieties with certain wine regions is likely. The projected rise in temperature will also alter grape composition and the wine styles produced and, along with predicted changes in precipitation amounts and seasonal timing, will challenge grape growing and wine making in the future.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim (Geisenheim Research Centre), Geisenheim, Germany

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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