MW Topic of the Week -- Climate Change!

So this week we are going to focus on climate change, which heavily effects Paper 1 (viticulture), sort of effects Paper 2 (winemaking), tangentially effects Paper 4 (business) and DEFINITELY effects Paper 5 (contemporary issues, for Stage 2 students only).

In recent years, this topic showed up in 2019, 2018, 2016, and in 2013.

2019: Does a changing climate place greater emphasis on terroir or on choice of grape variety?

2018: Referencing at least three wine regions, discuss how climate change is influencing grape growers’ viticultural practices.

2016: What practical options does a viticulturist have at his or her disposal to address long term changes in climate in an established vineyard?

2013: How important is climate change to the global wine market?

I would take extra care to make sure you know the financial impacts of corrective climate measures.

Looking forward to everyone's thoughts!

Kelli

Sarah Bray

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  • 2016: What practical options does a viticulturist have at his or her disposal to address long term changes in climate in an established vineyard?

    A few notes on this off the top of my head.

    • This is a crazy big question. My first thought went to heat and drought management. But extreme weather events like frost and hail need to be discussed too. Established vineyard to me means installs instead of big changes like replanting.
    • Heat: continued vine transpiration provides evaporative cooling. In the event of a heatwave, continued irrigation can be used so that the vine keeps pulling water up and out through the leaves. Growing a larger canopy and removing fewer leaves can help to keep clusters shaded and will keep them cooler. Potential use of overhead sprinklers (but consider drought here too).
    • Drought: drought tolerant rootstocks (read 's awesome article), implementation of drip irrigation where there was none, use of sap flow meters to determine plant water stress so that water resources can be used more efficiently.
    • Frost (specifically spring): late pruning, wind machines (if there is an inversion), smudge pots
    • Hail: hail cannon to break up hail clouds, cloth covers, prayer and insurance 
    • Flood: investing in pumps or other drainage solutions
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