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Climate change could render wine countries unfit for growth

Published:  25 October, 2013

Climate change could see large swathes of the world's current wine-producing countries become unsuitable for growing grapes by 2050, according to a debate at today's Digital Wine Communications Conference.

Wine writer, Suzanne Mustacich presented figures from Conservation International that predict dramatic changes to the global wine map with vast areas of Europe, South Africa, Australia and California becoming unsuitable for wine growing over the next 30 to 40 years.

But it also predicts wine growing will instead move to more temperate areas, with northern Europe in particular set to benefit. It sees Scandinavia, Russia and the UK as being the main wine regions of 2050.

Mustacich also showed research from Professor Richard Selley that predicts large parts of the UK right up into the north will be able up make quality wine by 2080.

The climate change debate also looked at how riding temperatures around the world would see different grape varieties overtake current traditional grapes being grown on many of the most established wine regions. The wine world, stressed Mustacich, will have to potentially completely re-evaluate how it thinks and talks about wine styles and flavours from different parts of the world.

The debate looked at the steps winemakers are already having to take to cope with increasing temperatures, less rainfall and earlier harvests.

The sixth Digital Wine Communications Conference is being held in Logrono, Rioja, and has brought together more than 300 wine trade professionals interested in communications, public relations, marketing and social media.