Climate change and economic challenge – strategies for vinegrowers, winemakers and wine estates

For wine areas around the world, nature and climate are becoming factors of production whose endowment becomes a stake beyond the traditional economic factors: labor, capital, land. They strongly influence agricultural and environmental conditions for production. With global warming new production areas are suitable for cultivation of vines with new people embarking on viticulture, preventive relocations are underway as well as land purchases which are anticipated future potential, cultivation practices evolve… A shift towards the poles (north and south) begins to be observed.

The people in charge of wine estates (winemakers, owners, managers,…) have to adjust continually to the impacts of climate change, a key and permanent concern today. In the vineyard as in the winery or in cellars adaptation is unceasing. Moreover, important observations of temporal and spatial variability of climate require unending monitoring in the vineyard, operations vital and costly in time. Simultaneously a strong spatial variability of climate on tight spaces requires responsiveness of winemakers in their plots because of high differences caused by local conditions (topography, soil, subsoil …) both in the short and medium term.

For wineries individual adjustment strategies, although still implemented through the centuries have become essential or crucial to the future of the working tool. The wide variety of situations (climatic, geographical, economic …) require new decisions to protect properties from incidents and accidents; the consequences of climate may jeopardize the survival of the wine estates especially the small ones (coverage risks, geographic diversification …). An individual or collective supervision is required to avoid uprooting of vines followed by losses and shortfalls in earnings over several years. Some recent situations are given as examples; they essentially concern familial estates in Burgundy from the vineyard to the choice of the type of produced wines.

Author: Marie-Claude PICHERY

Laboratoire d’Economie de Dijon (LEDi), Pôle d’Economie et Gestion, BP 26611, F 21066 DIJON Cedex, France


Keywords: climate change, grape, strategies, vignerons, vines, wine, winemakers

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