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Global Climate Change, Sustainability, and Some Challenges for Grape and Wine Production*

  • Hans R. Schultz (a1)

Abstract

Grapevines are cultivated on six out of seven continents, between latitudes 4° and 51° in the Northern Hemisphere and between latitudes 6° and 45° in the Southern Hemisphere across a large diversity of climates (oceanic, warm oceanic, transition temperate, continental, cold continental, Mediterranean, subtropical, attenuated tropical, and arid climates). Accordingly, the range and magnitude of environmental factors differ considerably from region to region and so do the principal environmental constraints for grape production. The type, number, and magnitude of environmental constraints are currently undergoing changes due to shifts in climate patterns already observed for the past and predicted for the future. These changes are already affecting grape composition with observed changes in sugar and acidity concentrations. As with other components such as polyphenols or aroma compounds, their relationships to environmental changes are more difficult to quantify. In general, one can divide the expected climatic changes during the grape-ripening period into two scenarios: warmer and dryer and warmer and moister, with different responses for red and white grape varieties. The production challenges within this broad separation are vastly different, and the strategies to ensure a sustainable product need to be adapted accordingly. The economic impact of these changes is difficult to assess. An in-depth analysis is necessary to construct relevant scenarios and risk analysis for individual regions and to quantify the costs and/or benefits of regional climate developments. (JEL Classifications: Q1, Q54)

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Special thanks are due to Dr. Helga Hassemer-Schwarz and Andreas Ehlig, formerly of the “Deutsche Wetterdienst”, Geisenheim, for compiling the input files and running the soil mineralization model.

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References

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