Climate change and viticulture in Nordic Countries and the Helsinki area
The first vineyards in Northern Europe were in Denmark in the 15th century, in the southern parts of Sweden and Finland in the 18th century at 55–60 degrees latitude. The grapes grown there have not been made into wine, but the grapes have been eaten at festive tables. The resurgence of viticulture has started with global warming, and currently the total area of viticulture in the Nordic countries, including Norway, is estimated to be 400–500 hectares, most of which is in Denmark. Southern Finland, like all southern parts of Northern Europe, belongs to the cool-cold winegrowing area. Southern Finland’s climate in the Helsinki area has become favourable for starting viticulture in the last couple of decades. This study viewed climate change and its impact on grapevine growth conditions in the Helsinki region during the first two decades of the millennium.  It observed an increase of 0.4 °C in the latter 10-year period compared to the previous 10-year period. Compared to the decades of the previous 20th century, this increase was more than twice higher during each of them. Between 2010 and 2019, the mean annual climate temperature exceeded seven times 7 °C, and in 2015, it was close to 8 °C. The budburst was latest on May 21. The growth cycle of Vitis vinifera variety Vitis ‘Rondo’, from bud break (E-L 5)  to harvest (E-L 38 and Brix18%), was shortened by11 days on average and by median 13 days over the second decade (2010–2019) compared to 2000–2019. The difference is statistically significant (p<0.05). The average beginning of harvest was shortened by 6 days, indicating a significant earlier harvest (p<0.05). The biggest difference in harvest days between the years was 21 days. Even during these short two decades, upward trending climate warming significantly accelerated the growth cycle of Vitis vinifera ‘Rondo’ in the Helsinki region.
1) Karvonen J. (2020) Changes in the grapevine’s growth cycle in Southern Finland in the 2000s – comparison between two first decades. Clim. Change, 6(21): 94-99.
2) Eichhorn, K.W. and Lorenz, D.H. (1977) Phänologische Entwicklung der Rebe. Nachrichtenblatten des Deutschen Pflanzenschutzdienstes 21.
Issue: ICGWS 2023