The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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Page 125 of 132

{ }  125 Adaptations A big question facing growers when they are faced with a changing climate is what they can do to adapt and maintain a suc- cessful operation. First and foremost is to make changes within their growing and winemaking pro- cedures to help reduce their overall carbon footprint. While this is not a quick fix, it will help minimize the effects of climate change for everyone. Reducing water usage in the vineyard and winery and adopting newer and more efficient technologies are a couple of ways to do this. For those in more troubled areas such as those regions already on the brink of being too hot for grape production, the need for more rapid change may be necessary. Planting new varieties or clones that are more heat-tolerant is an option, as is moving the vineyard all together to location higher in elevation. In the vineyard, adopting more efficient irrigation systems or practicing dry farm- ing may be necessary. Additionally, chang- ing vineyard management practices to improve water use efficiency in the plants themselves will be necessary to continue producing high quality wine. Examples on ways to achieve this are changing trellis techniques and changing canopy pruning strategies to increase shade protection on the grapes. Problems with Accepting Climate Change and Limitations to Action Unfortunately, despite the overwhelm- ing evidence of a changing climate, there are still often barriers to action by grape growers which are both physical and psy- chological. Because of the variability from AVA to AVA, and even within individual AVAs, it becomes difficult to accept that what scientists say might happen in a par- ticular area is actually going to happen in one individual vineyard. Growers are highly knowledgeable about their particular sites and how each relates to grape growing and winemaking, but are sometimes less understanding and accepting of less tan- gible predictions in terms of how that land may or may not be suitable in the future. In addition to distrust and general decreased awareness of climate change among the growers themselves, there are some physical barriers that exist that make it difficult for growers to adapt even if they wanted to. For example, planting more heat-tolerant grape varieties becomes dif- ficult when these new grape varieties have yet to be developed or when the financial costs of such massive changes becomes too much for an individual winery to bear. Finally, collaboration between scientists, growers and government agencies will be necessary to maximize participation in any climate change adaptation programs. Creating tax incentives, government finan- cial assistance programs or other govern- ment policies and encouraging participation in groups like the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and the California Association of Winegrape Growers are all ways to help increase individual vineyard and winery participation in the mitigation of the effects of climate change. Conclusions In general, it is predicted that California will see increased temperatures as well as decreases in soil and plant moisture, lead- ing to overall greater stress to the grapes and a reduction in overall wine quality. Some regions of California already on the brink of being too hot for winegrape pro- duction may find themselves sooner than later unable to produce high-quality wine, necessitating rapid change and adaptations not only at the individual vineyard level, but also at the state level. In order to maintain high quality wine production in California for the foresee- able future, it is of utmost impor tant for the growers and for the overall economic health of the state to star t taking action. It will become necessary at the state level to create policies and programs to provide suppor t for wine growers to make the necessary adaptations required to maintain economic health. With a $61.5 billion state-wide economic impact, addressing climate change effects on wine production and taking immediate action is of critical impor tance for the economic health of not only California, but also for the nation. Selected References Cahill, K.N. Global Changes in Local Places: Climate Change and the Future of the Wine Industry in Sonoma and Napa, California. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University, 2009, 226, 3343947. Cayan, D.R., Nicholas, K., Tyree, M., and Dettinger, M. 2011. Climate and Phenology in Napa Valley: A Compilation and Analysis of Historical Data. Napa Valley Vintners. Diffenbaugh, N.S., White, M.A., Jones, G.V., and Ashfaq, M. 2011. Climate adaptation wedges: a case study of premium wine in the United States. Environmental Research Letters 6: 024024. Gatto, J., Kim, B., Mahdavi, P., Namekawa, H., and Tran, H. 2009. The Future Impact of Climate Change on the California Wine Industry and Actions the State of California Should Take to Address It. International Policy Studies Program, Stanford University Report. Hannah, L., Roehrdanz, P.R., Ikegami, M., Shepard, A.V., Shaw, M.R., Tabor, G., Zhi, L., Marquet, P.A., and Hijmans, R.J. 2013. Climate change, wine, and conservation. PNAS 110(17): 6907-6912. Jones, G.V., Duff, A.A., Hall, A., and Myers, J.W. 2010. Spatial Analysis of Climate in Winegrape Growing Regions in the Western United States. American Journal for Enology and Viticulture 61(3): 313-326. Lambert, K. 2013. An overview of climate change studies and impacts for Sonoma wine grape growers. Community Alliance with Family Farmers. Nemani, R.R., White, M.A., Cayan, D.R., Jones, G.V., Running, S.W. Coughlan, J.C., and Peterson, D.L. 2001. Asymmetric warming over coastal California and its impact on the premium wine industry. Climate Research 19: 25-34. White, M.A., Diffenbaugh, N.S., Jones, G.V., Pal, J.S., and Giorgi, F. 2006. Extreme heat reduces and shifts United States premium wine production in the 21 st century. PNAS 103(30): 11217-11222.

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