The Effect of Global Warming on Vineyards


Photo: a vineyard in Northern Europe.

Slate Magazine has broached a topic near and dear to my heart: the effect of global warming on our food supply … in this particular case, grapes …

Climate change will create lots of winners and losers. Its relationship with land value is the subject of new economic research on an agricultural prima donna: the vineyard. Grapes require very particular conditions to grow well. For the last few hundred years, European vineyards have thrived between latitudes of 35 and 50, or from Sicily to northern Germany, where temperatures have averaged between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the last century, the average earth temperature has increased 1 degree Fahrenheit, and according to a 2005 study, wine-quality ratings have improved over the last half-century in the regions where temperatures have risen more. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects them to increase between 2.2 and 10 degrees more by 2100. So, what does that mean for where the best wine will come from? The new study, by economists Orley Ashenfelter of Princeton University and Karl Storchmann of Whitman College, answers this question by using the present-day relationship between vineyard quality and temperature to make informed estimates about the effects of higher temperature on the value of the world’s vineyards …

Dare I say “story developing?”

Go North, Young Grapes (Slate)

reported by Melissa Goodman

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