Climate, grapes, and wine: structure and suitability in a variable and changing climate
Climate is a pervasive factor in the success of all agricultural systems, influencing whether a crop is suitable to a given region, largely controlling crop production and quality, and ultimately driving economic sustainability. Climate’s influence on agribusiness is never more evident than with viticulture and wine production where climate is arguably the most critical aspect in ripening fruit to optimum characteristics to produce a given wine style. Any assessment of climate for wine production must examine a multitude of factors that operate over many temporal and spatial scales. Namely climate influences must be considered at the macroscale (synoptic climate) to the mesoscale (regional climate) to the toposcale (site climate) to the microscale (vine row and canopy climate). In addition, climate influences come from both broad structural conditions and singular weather events manifested through many temperature, precipitation, and moisture parameters. To understand climate’s role in growing winegrapes and wine production one must consider 1) the weather and climate structure necessary for optimum quality and production characteristics, 2) the climate suitability to different winegrape cultivars, 3) the climate’s variability in wine producing regions, and 4) the influence of climate change on the structure, suitability, and variability of climate.
Issue: Terroir 2010
Department of Environmental Studies
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd
Contact the author
Climate, grapes, wine, temperature, climate change, climate variability