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Climate Change Might Relocate Popular Wine Vineyards

Update Date: Apr 09, 2013 02:05 PM EDT

France and Italy are two of the world's most popular wine countries, with age-old vineyards that produce high quality wine sold throughout the world. Due to drastic and arguable inevitable climate changes, booking a plane ticket to visit the world's most popular wine vineyards might no longer be to the Bordeaux and Rhone valleys of France or to Tuscany in Italy. According to a new study, global climate changes threaten the growth of grapes and might force vineyards to relocate to a completely different region of the world by 2050.

The research done by the Climate Change, Wine and Conservation looked at 17 multiple climate models and their possible effects on nine huge wine-producing regions. They created two climate futures, identified as representative concentration pathways, at two different extremes in 2050. The first pathway was measured at 8.5 and considered to be the worst-case scenario while its counterpart was measured at 4.5.

The researchers stated that regardless of which scenario could happen in nearly 40 years, wine production in all nine areas would decline. The researchers believe that the worst decline will occur in European countries with an estimated 85 percent decrease in wine production based on the growth of grapes in Bordeaux, Rhone valley and Tuscany. Other regions such as California's Napa Valley and Chile might also experience a decline. This estimation was based on the study's findings that the land being used for growing grapes might no longer be viable due to the weather changes. The researchers believe that anywhere from 19 percent to 73 percent of the current vineyards will be rendered unusable. Since climate changes influence all areas, the researchers believe that the regions in North America, northern Europe and central China might become more advantageous for wine producers.

Simply picking up one's vineyard and relocating it to another part of the world is extremely complicated. Not only will people have to deal with land rights, they will also have to take into account the environmental effects a vineyard would have in that new region. Ecosystems and agriculture can be severely impacted by this shift.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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