Climate change in the Wine World

Oct 27, 2022Daniele Borgogno
Vigne Valpantena Enoteca Vinai del Borgo

Climate change has been a topic of discussion for decades.

But only now are the effects on wine production becoming more and more evident.

Climate change is not just about temperature and rainfall, but also about how the climate affects the quality of wine.

The high temperatures and drought in Italy have caused much hotter and increasingly anticipated harvests, the current 2022 harvest will lend itself to becoming one of the earliest vintages ever, especially in the Langa and Franciacorta.

There is no longer the possibility of harvesting peacefully at the end of September or in the first fortnight of October, especially for the medium or medium late varieties.

Climate change can have a crucial effect on the organoleptic and sensory characteristics of wines. Piedmont is one of the Italian regions most affected by this phenomenon. Some areas and grape varieties have undergone rapid and evident changes in climate patterns to which many producers have had to respond promptly. Proof of this is the large displacements of the Alta Langa vineyards from 250 to 800-1000 meters above sea level to guarantee the maintenance of the right acidity and freshness required for this type of wine. On the contrary, other regions have benefited from the increase in temperatures, giving more complex and structured wines even in areas that have always been considered of lower value. New wine-growing areas thanks to this epochal change.

Wine production in the Scandinavian countries has become more widespread in recent years, with Sweden, Denmark and Norway all investing in viticulture projects, although until recently it was impossible to assume that there was a climate conducive to grapevines.

It is also true that violent phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms have increased in countries more traditionally suited to the production of wine, which together with the decrease in yield, due to drought, will put many companies in increasing difficulty.

In short, the subject is complex, there are pros and cons but the only sure thing is that the change is there and perhaps it will have an ever greater impact.

It will be up to companies to adapt (and perhaps also to consumers) and benefit as much as possible and avoid negative consequences as far as possible. I am sure that, also thanks to the support and foresight of vineyard professionals such as agronomists and professionals in the sector, Italian viticulture will be able to adapt to current and future conditions in a sensitive way, with certainly greater respect for the resources available and a more efficient technically weighted cultivation of the vine.

Best wishes to all the producers who have started the harvest or who will soon start it.

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Oct 27, 2022