Premium U.S. Wine Regions Face Climate Risk Within 30 Years

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Warming temperatures could significantly impact some of America’s premium wine growing regions within three decades, including counties in California that produce some of the nation’s most expensive wines, according to a new Stanford University study.

In Northern California, researchers predict, the amount of land suitable for high-quality wine grapes could decrease by 50 percent.

California’s wine industry, which provides about 90 percent of the nation’s total wine production, was estimated to be worth $18.5 billion last year.

A 2006 study predicted that as much as 81 percent of the U.S. land suitable for premium wine grapes could disappear by the end of the century.

“Our new study looks at climate change during the next 30 years — a time frame over which people are actually considering the costs and benefits of making decisions on the ground,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth science at Stanford and author of both studies.

According to the study, some cooler parts of Oregon and Washington State could see an increase in the acreage suitable for premium wine grapes.

The study assumed that greenhouse gas emissions will increase 23 percent by 2040 and that temperatures will rise by 1.8 degrees F.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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