With the world getting warmer, traditional wine-growing regions including (but not limited to) the Dordogne could see a significant fall in production over the next forty years, with Conservation International forecasting a two-thirds drop in output.
The hot dry summers so typical of Aquitaine are not just attractive to the legions of tourists who journey to southwest France each year – they are crucial to the region’s vineyards, who rely on the sun to do its job plumping the grapes that will become some of the best-known wines in the world.
The study examined the potential effects of two different temperature increases on nine of the world’s greatest wine-growing regions – a ‘moderate’ 2.5˚C rise, and a more dramatic ‘worst-case’ 4.7˚C increase. Seventeen climate models were used in the course of the study.
Bordeaux, Rhone, and Tuscany were hardest hit by the researchers’ models, and showed an 85 percent drop in production by 2050.
“The fact is that climate change will lead to a huge shakeup in the geographic distribution of wine production,” said study author Lee Hannah. “We expected to see significant shifts, but we didn't expect to see shifts like these.
“It will be harder and harder to grow those varieties that are currently growing in places in Europe,” Hannah added. “It doesn't necessarily mean that [grapes] can't be grown there, but it will require irrigation and special inputs to make it work, and that will make it more and more expensive.”