Climate Change

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
Growing grapes for wine is a climatically sensitive endeavour, with narrow geographical zones providing the best production and quality characteristics. Therefore, the inherent uniqueness that wine region climates provide places the industry at greater risk from climate change than more broadly grown agricultural crops.

weather and climate present three distinct spatial/temporal scales of risks and challenges to viticulture and wine production: first, individual weather events, which are mostly short term and localized (e.g. hail, winter freezes, frost, and heavy rain); second, climate variability, which is measured on seasonal to decadal timescales and typically regionalized (e.g. drought or wet periods, warm or cold periods); third, climate change, which is recognized as long term and regional to global in scale (e.g. warming, cooling, changes in moisture regimes). In addition, one factor often influences and/or changes another—climate variability can change the frequency of individual weather events, or climate change can alter the nature of climate variability.