What Effect Has Climate Change Had on the European Wine Industry?

At the Ideal Wine Company we are luxury wine specialists that understand the basic principles of wine making. One of these principles is that weather patterns are a major element of viticulture. So with shifting weather patterns due to climate change, has European viticulture undergone a radical transformation?

A new report from alcohol expert Just-Drink suggests that climate change could be already having an effect on the way wine is produced and where in the continent the grapes are grown. The report cited evidence form a research project undertaken by the University of South-West Oregon.

They key piece of research found that the wine growing season temperature in some 27 key wine growing countries saw a rise of 2.3% Fahrenheit over the previous 50 year period. Consider that even a fraction of a degrees rise can have an effect on plant life and we begin to see that climate change is a real game changer for the wine growing industry.

In fact the report states that some of the continents prime wine growing areas are reaching dangerous temperature levels for production of grapes in wine. They are passing the temperature threshold in which after the quality of wine starts to decline. It specifically states that “the dramatic decline is predicted for Europe.”

These types of countries include those in Europe’s southernmost reaches, most notably Italy, Spain and Greece. However, what is important to note is that temperatures in wine growing countries are rising across the board.

This means that as the south gets hotter, so does the north. This means that there is a chance that countries that have never been large players on the wine making scene such as Austria, the UK and Denmark may grow to have a greater prominence as temperatures shift to bring prime wine growing conditions to their shores. This list could even include Scandinavian nation Finland.

The report comments on this theory. It says that “historically, Germany had been at the northern limits of wine production, where the grapes have struggled to achieve ripeness,” however “now that warmer temperatures are coming more frequently, the wine production frontier has shifted further northwards into countries where the growing of vines was previously considered unimaginable.”

At the Ideal Wine Company we recognise that the wine industry is famously versatile. It has had to be in order to survive as long as it has. Therefore it’s not surprising that as climate change alters the way we think of the world, it will most likely change the way we think of wine as well. It really is an exciting time to be in the wine industry.


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