Globalisation and climate change have radically transformed world wine production upsetting the established order of wine ecologies. Ecological risks and the future of traditional agricultural systems are widely debated in anthropology, but very little is understood of the particular challenges posed by climate change to viticulture which is seen by many as the canary in the coalmine of global agriculture. Moreover, wine as a globalised embedded commodity provides a particularly telling example for the study of climate change having already attracted early scientific attention. Studies of climate change in viticulture have focused primarily on the production of systematic models of adaptation and vulnerability, while the human and cultural factors, which are key to adaptation and sustainable futures, are largely missing. Climate experts have been unanimous in recognising the urgent need for a better understanding of the complex dynamics that shape how climate change is experienced and responded to by human systems. Yet this call has not yet been addressed. Climate ethnography, coined by the anthropologist Susan Crate (2011), aims to bridge this growing disjuncture between climate science and everyday life through the exploration of the social meaning of climate change. It seeks to investigate the confrontation of its social salience in different locations and under different environmental guises (Goodman 2018: 340). By understanding how wine producers make sense of the world (and the environment) and act in it, it proposes to focus on the co-production of interdisciplinary knowledge by identifying and foreshadowing problems (Goodman 2018: 342; Goodman & Marshall 2018). It seeks to offer an original, transformative and contrasted perspective to climate change scenarios by investigating human agency -individual or collective- in all its social, political and cultural diversity. An anthropological approach founded on detailed ethnographies of wine production is ideally placed to address economic, social and cultural disruptions caused by the emergence of these new environmental challenges. Indeed, the community of experts in environmental change have recently called for research that will encompass the human dimension and for more broad-based, integrated through interdisciplinarity, useful knowledge (Castree & al 2014). My paper seeks to engage with climate ethnography and discuss what it brings to the study of wine environmental futures while exploring the limitations of the anthropological environmental approach.
Making sense of available information for climate change adaptation and building resilience into wine production systems across the world
Effects of climate change on viticulture systems and winemaking processes are being felt across the world. The IPCC 6thAssessment Report concluded widespread and rapid changes have occurred, the scale of recent changes being unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years. These changes will continue under all emission scenarios considered, including increases in frequency and intensity of hot extremes, heatwaves, heavy precipitation and droughts. Wine companies need tools and models allowing to peer into the future and identify the moment for intervention and measures for mitigation and/or avoidance. Previously, we presented conceptual guidelines for a 5-stage framework for defining adaptation strategies for wine businesses. That framework allows for direct comparison of different solutions to mitigate perceived climate change risks. Recent global climatic evolution and multiple reports of severe events since then (smoke taint, heatwave and droughts, frost, hail and floods, rising sea levels) imply urgency in providing effective tools to tackle the multiple perceived risks. A coordinated drive towards a higher level of resilience is therefore required. Recent publications such as the Australian Wine Future Climate Atlas and results from projects such as H2020 MED-GOLD inform on expected climate change impacts to the wine sector, foreseeing the climate to expect at regional and vineyard scale in coming decades. We present examples of practical application of the Climate Change Adaptation Framework (CCAF) to impacts affecting wine production in two wine regions: Barossa (Australia) and Douro (Portugal). We demonstrate feasibility of the framework for climate adaptation from available data and tools to estimate historical climate-induced profitability loss, to project it in the future and to identify critical moments when disruptions may occur if timely measures are not implemented. Finally, we discuss adaptation measures and respective timeframes for successful mitigation of disruptive risk while enhancing resilience of wine systems.
Exploring resilience and competitiveness of wine estates in Languedoc-Roussillon in the recent past: a multi-level perspective
The Languedoc-Roussillon wineries are facing a decline in wine yields particularly PGI yields due to many factors. Climate change is just ones, but is expected to increase in the future. There is also structurally a large heterogeneity of yield profiles among terroirs, varieties and strategies. This work investigates the link between yield, competitiveness and resilience to explore how resilient winegrowers have been in the recent past. To this end two approaches have been combined; (i) an accountancy database analysis at estate scale and (ii) municipality level competitiveness analysis. A new resilience indicator that characterizes the capacity of an estate to absorb yield variation is also defined. The FADN database between 2000 and 2018 of ex-Languedoc-Roussillon (France) and other data are used to analyse the current situation and the past evolution of competitiveness and resilience by type of estate (type of farm: PGI and/or PDO & type of commercialization: bulk and/or bottles). The net margin, which defines competitiveness, is not correlated to yield for all types but depends on the type of commercialization and the level of specialisation. The resilience indicator shows that the net margin of estates specialized in PGI is particularly sensitive to yield declines. We also show that price evolutions seem to compensate the effect of yield losses for the majority of types. Municipality scale analysis shows the links between local pedoclimate, yield, commercialization strategies and price. Overlapping a PDO with a PGI does not always increase a municipality’s PGI competitiveness. It is difficult to make links between causes and effects due to the complexity of the wine production system. Production diversification may be a solution. Resorting to the two level of analysis helps resolving the data gap that is necessary to explore the links between yield and economic performance of the wine estates in the long term.
Assessing the climate change vulnerability of European winegrowing regions by combining exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity indicators
Winegrowing regions recognized as protected designations of origin (PDOs) are closely tied to well defined geographic locations with a specific set of pedoclimatic attributes and strictly regulated by legal specifications. However, climate change is increasingly threatening these regions by changing local conditions and altering winegrowing processes. The vulnerability to these changes is largely heterogenous across different winegrowing regions because it is determined by individual characteristics of each region, including the capacity to adapt to new climatic conditions and the sensitivity to climate change, which depend not only on natural, but also socioeconomic and legal factors. Accurate vulnerability assessments therefore need to combine information about adaptive capacity and climate change sensitivity with projected exposure to new climatic conditions. However, most existing studies focus on specific impacts neglecting important interactions between the different factors that determine climate change vulnerability. Here, we present the first comprehensive vulnerability assessment of European wine PDOs that spatially combines multiple indicators of adaptive capacity and climate change sensitivity with high-resolution climate projections. We found that the climate change vulnerability of PDO areas largely depends on the complex interactions between physical and socioeconomic factors. Homogenous topographic conditions and a narrow varietal spectrum increase climate change vulnerability, while the skills and education of farmers, together with a good economic situation, decrease their vulnerability. Assessments of climate change consequences therefore need to consider multiple variables as well as their interrelations to provide a comprehensive understanding of the expected impacts of climate change on European PDOs. Our results provide the first vulnerability assessment for European winegrowing regions at high spatiotemporal resolution that includes multiple factors related to climate exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity on the level of single winegrowing regions. They will therefore help to identify hot spots of climate change vulnerability among European PDOs and efficiently direct adaptation strategies.
The effects of alternative herbicide free cover cropping systems on soil health, vine performance, berry quality and vineyard biodiversity in a climate change scenario in Switzerland
There is an urgent need in viticulture to adopt alternative herbicide-free soil management strategies to mitigate climate change, increase biodiversity, reduce plant protection products and improve soil quality while minimizing detrimental effects on grapevine’s stress tolerance and fruit quality. To propose sustainable solutions, adapted to different pedoclimatic conditions in Switzerland, we developed a multidisciplinary 4-year project, started in 2020. Objectives of the project are to a) evaluate the impact of green covers (spontaneous flora, winter cover crop and permanent ground cover) on environmental and agronomic parameters and b) develop subsequently innovative strategies for different viticultural contexts of Switzerland. The project is divided into 3 phases: 1) diagnosis, 2) on-farm and 3) on-station experiments. Phase 1) consisted in an assessment of 30 commercial vineyards all over Switzerland, where growers already use different herbicide-free soil management strategies. The most promising practices identified in this exploratory phase will be replicated in commercial vineyards across Switzerland (“on-farm”) as well as in a classical randomized block design in an experimental plot (“on-station”). For phase 1), measurements consisted in evaluation of soil status (compaction, structure, roots development), soil microbial diversity (metagenomics), plant diversity and biomass, vine physiology (water stress, vigor, leaf nitrogen) and berry quality (acidity, sugar, available nitrogen). Interestingly, the permanent ground cover resulted in a higher Shannon index thus a higher biodiversity as compared to the other itineraries. The winter cover crop increased vine nitrogen and vigor while deteriorating soil quality, leaving the soil more exposed and compacted likely due to more frequent tillage. The spontaneous flora led to higher berry sugar accumulation, less nitrogen and higher malic acid concentration putatively due to a higher water retention of the flora in a particularly wet vintage. Phases 2) and 3) are required to confirm those tendencies, over the 3 next vintages and different climatic conditions.
Analysis of some environmental factors and cultural practices that affect the production and quality of the Manto Negro, Callet and Prensal Blanc varieties
45 non irrigated vineyards distributed in the DO (Denomination) Pla i Llevant de Mallorca and the DO Binissalem Mallorca were used to investigate the characteristics of production and quality and their relationships certain environmental factors and cultural practices. The grape varieties investigated are autochthonous to the island of Mallorca, Manto Negro and Callet as red and Prensal Blanc as white. All plants were measured for four consecutive years in the main production and quality parameters. Among the environmental factors, the type of soil has been studied, more specifically its water retention capacity, the planting density, the age of the vineyard and the level of viral infection. The presence or absence of virus seems to have no effect on any component studied in the varieties studied. For the white variety Prensal Blanc age is negatively correlated with production and the number of bunches, nevertheless it does not cause any effect on the required quality parameters. However, for the red varieties Callet and Manto Negro, the age of the plantation is the variable that best correlates with the quality parameters, therefore the old vines should be the object of preservation by the viticulturists and winemakers in order to guarantee its contribution to the quality of the wines made with these varieties.
Effect of vigour and number of clusters on eonological parameters and metabolic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon red wines
Vegetative growth and yield are reported to affect grape and wine quality. They can be controlled through different techniques linked to vine management. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of vine vigour and number of clusters per vine on physicochemical composition and phenolic profile of red wines. The experiment was carried out during two vegetative cycles, with cv. Cabernet Sauvignon grafted onto Paulsen 1103. Three vine vigour were defined, according to shoot weight at previous harvests, being low, medium and high. Five treatments of number of clusters were used for each vigour, with 15, 22, 29, 36, and 45 clusters per vine. Grapes from all treatments were harvested in the same day from Brix and total acidity criteria. Thirty days after bottling, classical analyzes and phenolic compounds were performed. As results, different responses were obtained from each vintage. In 2020, a dry season from veraison to harvest, grapes and wines obtained from low vigour treatment and 45 clusters per vine was the highest in sugar and alcohol content respectively, while grapes and wines from high vigour and 15 clusters presented the lowest sugar and alcohol content. Total anthocyanins were higher in treatment with low vigour and 15 clusters, while the lowest amounts were found in low vigour with 45 clusters, as well as medium and high vigour with 36 clusters per vine. Total tannins were higher in high vigour with 22 clusters and medium vigour with 29 clusters, while were lower in low vigour with 36 clusters. In 2021, a wet season at harvest, responses were different, and great variations were observed between treatments. As conclusions, yield and vine vigour had strong influence on grape and wine quality, promoting different enological potentials on which can be indicated/used for aging strategies of red and even rosé wines.
Assessment of the impact of actions in the vineyard and its surrounding environment on biodiversity in Rioja Alavesa (Spain)
Traditional viticulture areas have experienced in the last decades an intensification of field practices, linked to an increased use of fertilisers and phytosanitary products, and to a more intensive mechanization and uniformization of the landscape. This change in management has sometimes led to higher rates of soil erosion andloss of soil structure, fertility decline, groundwater contamination, and to an increased pressure of pests and diseases. Additionally, intensification usually leads to a simplification of landscapes, of particular concern in prestigious wine grape regions where the economical revenue encourages the conversion of land use from natural habitats to high value wine grape production. To revert this trend, it is necessary that growers implement actions that promote biodiversity in their vineyards. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of the implementation of cover crops, vegetational corridors, dry stone walls and vineyard biodiversity hotspots estimated through the study of arthropods. The work has been carried out in four vineyards in Rioja Alavesa belonging to Ostatu winery, where these infrastructures were implemented in 2020. The presence and diversity of arthropods was studied by capturing them at different times in the season and at different distances from the infrastructure using pit-fall traps in the soil and yellow, white and blue chromatic traps at the canopy level. This is a preliminary study in which all adult insects were sorted to the taxonomic level of order and Coleoptera were classified to morphospecies. The results obtained show that there is a relationship between the basic characteristics of the vineyard and the arthropods captured, with a positive effect, although also dependent on the vineyard, of the presence of infrastructure.