Everything you know about wine is right — for now. But by mid-century, global changes will have upended conventional wisdom in the wine industry: climate change, shifting global demand, new vinification techniques, and marketing innovations will transform the industry. Climate change will expand the areas now suitable for grape growing into northern latitudes and higher altitudes, while also changing the climates, and thus suitability, of current growing regions. More advanced and intensive manipulations during the vinification process will facilitate winemaking in new areas and allow adaptation in old ones. The desire for European-style wine by China’s middle class will skyrocket, fueling global demand that will fund the adaptation needed in both viti- and vinicultural sides of winemaking.
This transformation has profound implications for the environmental footprint of the industry and conservation, both in traditional wine regions and in emerging wine- producing areas. The large expansions of vine impinge upon areas of high habitat importance for iconic wildlife, and adaptation to warming and heat stress may mean more water use in current growing regions. Solutions – like those proposed in the Yellowstone to Yukon program and China’s Eco-Compensation program—must balance the needs of the wine industry with those of wildlife, and will therefore require extensive and collaborative land use planning.
This article was written by Karl Storchmann