Wine quality subject to climate change | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Science Ticker

A roundup of research
and breaking news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Wine quality subject to climate change

Sangiovese Grapes

Warm, wet conditions caused by climate change can prevent grape growers from harvesting their crop at the optimum time, new research suggests.

Sponsor Message

Be wary, wine lovers: Climate change can muck with your merlots. By tracking the timing of French and Swiss grape harvests from 1600 through 2007, scientists have discovered that the link between high temperatures and drought conditions — a combination crucial for fine wine production — has broken down since 1980.

Warm temperatures hasten grape maturation, requiring early harvests. In the past, warm springs and summers often coincided with scarce rainfall that produced good harvesting conditions. Climate change, however, produces warm temperatures in France and Switzerland independent of low rainfall. Harvest-delaying rainstorms increasingly prevent winemakers from collecting their warmth-matured crop at the optimum time, worsening wine quality, the scientists report March 21 in Nature Climate Change.

The new work adds to the list of ways that climate change affects the wine industry, such as shifting the regions with the ripest climates for growing grapes. 

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content