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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Climate change: How it is going to affect viticulture in the Douro Valley

 When dealing with climate change, natural climate variations should never be discarded. There is “climate variability”, which is the change in the weather behavior at a certain location from time to time. However, climate change due to human activities is happening and will have a large impact and many implications everywhere on the planet. The world’s major wine-producing countries – Italy, France, Spain, USA and Australia – are all at risk. Vines are extremely sensitive to the numerous changes associated with climate change, but this paper will have the subject under a microscope and only discuss how it’s going to affect viticulture in the Douro Valley (and it assumes a ‘business as usual’ approach). This discussion is about what needs to be done in a scenario where the temperatures are higher (with an increase in frequency of extremely hot days), the droughts are more severe, and there’s increased surface evaporation. Efforts need to be made to keep viticulture and winemaking viable and profitable in this traditional wine region.
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Kent Benson said...

You did a very nice job identifying possible solutions. Was that something you were required to do as part of your MW candidacy, or was it just a practice exercise for the exam?

I’m curious about your position concerning the claim that global warming can be attributed to human activity. You said, “…climate change due to human activities is happening and will have a large impact and many implications everywhere on the planet.”

A few years ago, I had to write an article on global warming for my local editorial page, so I did a good bit of research in an effort to judge the merits of the man-made global warming argument for myself. After a lot of reading, I concluded there was very little if any validity in the man-made global warming claim. Since then, I have run across even more reasons to be skeptical.

Based upon the above quote, your use of the quote from Pancho Campo, and your subsequent remarks, it seems you have arrived at a different conclusion.

Most people who are sounding the alarm about global warming advocate drastic measures to avoid disaster. I sometimes wonder if these measures might cause a disaster rather than avert one.

What if carbon emissions have nothing to do with global warming? What if the earth begins to cool again, as many claim it has been doing for the last decade? If vineyards are changed over to later-ripening grapes and expositions are altered, a cooling trend could be just as devastating as continued warming.

If I were a viticulturalist, I would be taking much more of a wait-and-see approach. I would be more inclined to and wait to react to any further warming trends should they occur, even if it meant a delay in adjusting to a warmer, “normal” climate, rather than risking time and money by acting now on a future which cannot possibly be predicted.

Any thoughts?

Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking said...

Hi Kent, if you could post up your article I would be happy to respond to it and highlight the validity in the argument in favour of human-induced climate change. I am afraid there is no question in a shadow of a doubt that current climate change is human-induced and I would love the opportunity to convince you of this.