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Climate change and viticulture

May 2, 2012 by Maria Jose Merino | in Latest news, News

Carried out by several institutions in Argentina, the first research on the perception of climate change in the wine industry was developed. Below, find the conclusions of the report.

The National Institute of Viticulture (INV), together with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and universities of Mendoza organized the new series of lectures 2012.

On this occasion, the selected topic was “Perceptions and experiences of the wine industry towards climate change” in charge of INV’s Engineer, Carla Aruani.

After carrying out researches in the wine regions of Argentina and having collected considerable samples, some conclusions were drawn in regards to climate change notions; degree of flexibility, concerns, aims, knowledge and familiarity with concepts related to the environment; matters that worry and alarm most of us.

One of the most revealing questions in the research was when participants were asked if they were aware of how climate change affected vines. 65% confirmed its existence by remembering specific episodes. However, surprisingly 23% denied that climate change negatively affects vineyards.

In spite of this, the research reinforces the enmity between climate change and vines. Factors like high temperatures and heat waves inevitably affect the normal course of the process, leading to several consequences such as late or early harvests, water-stressed vines, decreased yields, and rapid accumulation of sugar. Different vine varieties require specific environmental conditions to reach their potential; therefore any significant climate change directly influences the production of grapes and wines.

62% of participants have a negative projection into the future; significant detail when comparing it to the percentage of people confirming the existence of climate change.

Given climate change, it is advised the use of anti-hail net, better positioning of buds, less exposure of clusters and lesser leaf removal, increase in water supply to plants, use of plant coverage between vineyard lines and increase in fertilizers’ usage. A more efficient use of water and effluent treatment are also suggested. Most of the interviewed agreed on the need of training the staff.

Beyond the many recommendations to consider, there are some barriers that need to be overcome in order to get adapted to climate change; like for example uncertainty about the climate, high adaptation costs and the lack of specialized personnel. 56% of those polled said that one is responsible for raising awareness.

As a conclusion, climate change is perceived as a risk and threat to the future of viticulture, fearing the negative impact on primary production.

Translation: Rocio Acosta

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