Bernard Segway from INRA on Climate Change
This show was published 27 August 2008
INRA is the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. We speak with Bernard Segway on the potential effects of climate change on grape growing.
It is predicted there will be more pronounced warming in the northern hemisphere than in the south where there is more ocean. As temperatures increase vines will be riper earlier and the growing cycle will be shorter. Flowering will change a little but not much. There is likely to be an advance of bud flowering by one week and harvest dates by one month and a shortening in general of the phases. The higher CO2 will increase photosynthesis but for a shorter period, reducing the net effect. The grapes will be exposed to warmer temperatures leading to ripening in July instead of August (in France). 1 or 2 degrees of global warming really equates to 5 degrees for grapes because they are so sensitive to heat. With warming there will be more sugar, less acidity but these can be compensated for with technology in the same way that winemakers used technology in the past to increase alcohol and reduce acidity. Other ways to combat climate change will be the choice of grape varieties, e.g. plant clones with higher acidity in Alsace, manipulate the microclimate, go to higher elevations etc.
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