Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Global Warming Could Push Grapes to Higher Altitudes

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Global Warming Could Push Grapes to Higher Altitudes

As the planet warms, crops will struggle in climates where they once thrived. Grapes are no different. or so says CNBC contributer Sam Harrop, a Master of Wine, a winemaking consultant and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, the largest wine competition in the world.

"With climate change putting pressure on winemakers, vineyard owners are finding that to ensure a quality crop the only way is up," says Harrop. This means that mile high acreage like the Grand Valley will be better able to adapt to rots, blights and temperature variances than lower altitude terroirs. Longer growing seasons and higher temperatures might alter the Grand Valley into a full-bodied red wine producing region.

Under the headline, "Taking The High Ground," Harrop writes:

"As is the case with many industries today, wine production is being placed under unprecedented pressure from climate change: erratic rainfall patterns, storms of growing severity and drought pressures are all doing their bit to force winemakers to question not only their approach to winemaking, but also the long-term viability of their vineyard sites.

"While some regions previously thought to be too cool for viticulture are becoming more feasible, others deemed ideal are – because of climatic extremes – becoming less commercially attractive. But rather than packing up and moving to Denmark, winemakers with vision are planting at higher altitudes in their existing regions in an effort to counteract the effects of climate change. And the results? High-quality wine that is truly inspiring."

You can read the rest of the article here.

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