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Global warming threatens Aussie plonk

Vineyards may head south to cooler climes

Global warming may compel Australian wine producers to shift their vineyards to cooler climes, The Telegraph reports.

As temperatures rise - by an estimated 1.5°C to 2°C in the next 50 to 100 years - and rainfall decreases, a southward migration of vineyards may be in order, experts predict. Mark McKenzie, executive director of the Winegrape Growers Council, explained: "If the climate projections are right, we'd see the ideal zones for different grape varieties shifting south.

"Areas which are currently considered too cool for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes may become ideal for that variety, for instance. But it doesn't necessarily mean we are going to have to abandon existing areas."

Brian McGuigan, a winemaker based in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, says the changes are already evident. "We're noticing that the seasons have moved forward, reflected by the time at which you pick the grapes," he said.

Higher temperatures mean the grapes ripen earlier, losing some of their flavour. Accordingly, a relocation of vines from, for example, sweaty Queensland to more temperate Tasmania could provide a solution, The Telegraph notes. ®

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