Future scenarios for viticultural climatic zoning in Europe

Climate is one of the main conditioning factors of winemaking. In this context, bioclimatic indices are a useful zoning tool, allowing the description of the suitability of a particular region for wine production. In this study, we compute climatic indices for Europe, characterize regions with different viticultural aptitude, and assess possible variations in these regions under a future climate conditions using a state-of-the-art regional climate model. The indices are calculated from climatic variables (mostly daily temperatures and precipitation) obtained from the regional climate model COSMO-CLM for recent and future climate conditions. Maps of theses indices for recent decades (1961-2000) and for the XXI century (following the SRES A1B scenario) are considered to identify possible changes. Results show that climate change is projected to have a significant negative impact in wine quality by increased dryness and cumulative thermal effects during growing seasons in Southern European regions (e.g. Portugal, Spain and Italy). These changes represent an important constraint to grapevine growth and development, making crucial adaptation/mitigation strategies to be adopted. On the other hand, regions of western and central Europe (e.g. southern Britain, northern France and Germany) will benefit from this scenario both in wine quality, and in new potential areas for viticulture. This approach provides a macro-characterization of European areas where grapevines may preferentially grow, as well as their projected changes, and is thus a valuable tool for viticultural zoning in a changing climate.

Authors: A. C. Malheiro (1), J. A. Santos (1), H. Fraga (1), J. G. Pinto (2)

1) Centre for Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences (CITAB), University of Trásos-Montes e Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
(2) Institut für Geophysik und Meteorologie, Universität zu Köln, Kerpener Str. 13, 50923 Köln, Germany

Email: amalheir@utad.pt

Keywords: Viticultural zoning, scenarios, Europe, climate change, CLM

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