Greg Jones Climate Change and Wine 2 Climatology
This show was published 07 March 2008
Greg Jones is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Oregon in the United States. We talk about the big picture for climate change and what it means for the wine industry.
According to Greg, carbon dioxide exists naturally in our atmosphere, e.g. gas in volcanoes, burning of vegetation and other processes at the earth's surface. The human use of fossil fuels via deforestations and urbanization has enhanced the amount of carbon and other gases in the atmosphere. Since the industrial revolution in 1750 it is clear there has been a higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This concentration has almost doubled since the 1700's and by 2100 we could see double the concentration again.
Every one of us needs to be a better steward of the environment - small amounts of savings really do add up if lots of people are doing it according to Greg. With grapes we need to be better at storing CO2 and capturing CO2 from fermentation as well as reducing through packaging with the aim to be as close to carbon zero as possible. CO2 can be stored in the soil system by putting cuttings, seeds, skins back into the ground between vines but this presents a challenge in that with growing grapes you do not want an overly fertile soil, just a balance of good organic matter in the upper layer. Too many nutrients produce more vegetation and inferior fruit.
Suitability windows for grape varieties are shifting towards the poles and higher up in elevation. Wines today, in virtually every region, are higher in alcohol, less acidic and lower in ph than we have had in a long time simply because the climate has become less balanced. Some regions will have to change the grapes they grow. Humans have been migrating for hundreds and thousands of years out of necessity but with today's social and economic systems and infrastructures migration is a real issue - with wine, instead of moving elsewhere we are tweaking the fruit or the wine to make up for the fact that its being grown in an unbalanced climate.
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The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.