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CR 36:99-111 (2008)  -  DOI:

Climate change and winegrape quality in Australia

L. B. Webb1,2,*, P. H. Whetton1, E. W. R. Barlow2

1CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PMB 1, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia
2School of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia

ABSTRACT: Various agricultural sectors are likely to be sensitive to projected climate change. Winegrapes are particularly sensitive to climate change because of the intrinsic link between the climate and the characteristic and often unique quality of the resulting wine. Here we present results from a study exploring the impact of projected climate change on the Australian wine industry. In the present study, impact models based upon existing viticultural and winegrape market data are used to estimate how projected regional temperature increases might affect the winegrape and wine industry throughout Australia by 2030 and 2050. The effect on winegrape quality is determined for different premium winegrape varieties separately. Differential impacts were determined across a range of base-climates, climate change regimes and varietal crush profiles. This represents the first national study of the impact of climate change on winegrape quality that is regionally specific, and that integrates varietal differences in temperature sensitivity. The impact of warming was found to be negative overall, assuming no adaptation is implemented, for all Australian winegrowing regions. It is found that the reduction to winegrape quality varied regionally, with greater quality reductions calculated for the inland regions. Without adaptation, winegrape quality may be reduced at a national scale in Australia from 7% with lower warming to 39% with higher future warming by the year 2030, and from 9% with lower warming to 76% with higher warming by the year 2050 (all uncertainties considered).

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Winegrape quality · Winegrape varieties

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Cite this article as: Webb LB, Whetton PH, Barlow EWR (2008) Climate change and winegrape quality in Australia. Clim Res 36:99-111.

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