Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

January 7, 2013

Global warming causes big headache for winemakers

To paraphrase Shakespeare, in the vineyards of the world, something worrisome this way comes. Over the last decade, global warming has started affecting those narrow zones best suited for growing wine grapes.

Warmer temperatures are a mixed blessing for winemakers. In colder climates like Bordeaux and Burgundy, more heat can increase sugars in the grapes.

Richard Snyder, a biometeorology specialist at the University of California, Davis, speaking at last year's Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, said a three degrees centigrade increase in temperature would create more carbon dioxide in the air, aiding photosynthesis and prolonging frost-free growing seasons.

The bad news, said Snyder, is that higher temperatures can bring more droughts to the Mediterranean and California.

Unlike so-called broad acre crops such as soybeans and wheat, wine grapes are a "niche crop that can only been grown in certain areas," says Gregory V. Jones, professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University.

"The issue today is, when we talk of global warming, we talk about humans' contribution, which is occurring at a much faster rate than in recorded history. What we used to consider a one-in-50-year drought is now more commonplace. The extreme heat of 2012 in the U.S. was a one-in-1,600- year event," he says.

Axel Heinz, director of production for Super Tuscan wine Ornellaia, said the prolonged European heat wave in the summer of 2003 was what alerted first producers to what was going on.

"The weather is now getting more and more extreme and unpredictable with sudden heat spikes, long lasting drought periods and violent and unpredictable rainfalls," he said.

Such spikes are forcing winemakers to adapt. Heinz has observed an accelerating trend of increased sugar levels leading to higher alcohol levels in the past five years.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks