Will Global Warming Kill Australia?

Very interesting article in today’s Financial Express. Apparently some Aussie researchers think that the current increase in temperature will severly harm the country’s wine industry.

Technorati Tags: australian, wine

CANBERRA, OCT 23: Global warming will force changes to Australia’s A$4.8 billion ($3.6 billion) wine export industry, threatening the very existence of some varieties as temperatures rise, a scientist said on Monday.

With Australia in the grip of its worst recorded drought and heading into a searing summer, the country’s biggest science organisation, the CSIRO, said wine growers needed to re-think plans to cope with climate change or face possible ruin.

“With earlier harvest in a warmer climate, the temperature of the ripening period in some regions will become too warm to produce balanced wines from some or maybe all grape varieties growing there now,” lead researcher Leanne Webb said.

Australian wine exports topped A$2.7 billion in 2004-05 according to official figures, with most sales heading to the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Germany.

The country’s high-tech approach to harvesting and wine manufacture, backed by aggressive marketing and soft-drinking styles has led the global push by so-called New World makers.

But Webb said temperatures in most Australian wine regions were projected to rise by as much as 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030.

That in turn, she said, would reduce grape quality in some regions by 12 to 57 percent, with the temperamental Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties, as well as some Chardonnay varieties, almost disappearing from Australia’s mainland.

“What we will have to do is select different varieties to plant. The industry may need to breed grape varieties to suit these warmer climates,” Webb said.

—Reuters

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