Local adaptation tools to ensure the viticultural sustainability in a changing climate

Over the next century, the projected changes in regional climates are expected to have important consequences on wine production. They vary from short-term impacts on wine quality and style, to long-term issues such as varietal suitability and the economic sustainability of wine growing regions. To contextualize the possible temporal and spatial climate change impacts, this study first assessed the past and expected (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) viticultural potential of 24 vineyards sites representative of the middle Loire Valley, namely sites with a weakly, moderately and strongly weathered bedrock having various water holding capacities. Simple terrain tools were then applied to illustrate the likely trends in possible wine quality and style for these 24 sites. While wine quality is shaped by natural features as soil properties, winegrowers’ perennial and annual decision-making inevitably play also an important role. Using a water balance model available for the 24 sites, the effect of different soil management practices on vine performance as well as wine quality and style were evaluated. To validate this applied approach using terrain tools, the final part of the study looked at support precision tools, namely vegetation indices derived from satellite imagery. These indices allow to monitor and estimate the vine water status of the different sites and therefore the delineation of viticultural zones with similar features. As a global changing climate denotes an increase in uncertainty, both in time and over space, these local adaptation tools allow winegrowers to better understand the past and expected viticultural potentialities of their vineyards. These tools should also enhance the resilience of winegrowers as they adopt no-regret strategies that are place specific.

Authors: Etienne Neethling1, Cécile Coulon-Leroy1, Etienne Goulet2,3 and Francois Gallet4

1ESA, USC 1422 INRA-GRAPPE, Ecole Supérieure d’Agricultures, Angers, France
2IFV, Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin, Beaucouzé, France
3InterLoire, Interprofessions des Vins du Val de Loire, Tours, France
4Scanopy, Quincy, France

Email: e.neethling@groupe-esa.com

Keywords: climate change, adaptation tools, middle Loire Valley, conceptual model, wine identity

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