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News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

Rows of vines can be seen at sunset at Yalumba's Jansz estate in the Tamar Valley, located in the northeast of Tasmania June 4, 2014. Just weeks out from the 2016 harvest, the contrasting events highlight the challenges from climate change, particularly extreme weather, faced by the world's fourth-largest wine exporter. Not only are wine growing regions getting hotter, weather is also becoming more unpredictable, scientists say. "We've had one of the biggest downpours we have had in a long time," said Neil McGuigan, chief executive of Australian Vintage Ltd, one of the largest wine producers in the Hunter Valley, some 250 km (155 miles) north of Sydney. "We are on the edge, if we get more rain, we will start to develop disease and as soon as that happens, you will not be able to harvest the fruit," said McGuigan. As much as 200 millimetres (7.9 inches) of rain fell across Australia's east coast last week, data from the country's Bureau of Meteorology shows, twice the average January rainfall. By contrast, Bernie Worthington in Western Australia lost his vineyard when a bushfire burned his property in Waroona in the state's southwest last week. Even if wildfires don't destroy a crop, they can leave an entire vintage with "smoke taint", leading to wines that taste like an ashtray. The climate extremes seen through the 2015/16 season are a foretaste of future climate change, scientists say, which is threatening the outlook for Australia's wine industry. Australia produces about 1.2 million tonnes of wine a year, exporting more than half to the United States, Britain and Asia in sales worth A$1.96 billion ($1.37 billion) in 2014/15. But its main wine regions are getting hotter and drier, with temperatures projected to increase by between 0.3 and 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030, according to Australia's science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). At the same time, the CSIRO said the intensity of extreme rainfall events is likely to increase, a pattern already seen over the last 12 months. "The science projections do not point to Australia's climate getting any more favorable," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank. Climate change mitigation is at the forefront of plans by Australia's largest growers, including Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, which is looking at cooler climate vineyards in places like the southernmost island state of Tasmania. Other measures to deal with warmer temperatures include new irrigation methods that save water and specially developed sunscreen that is sprayed on grapes. But growers say they have only limited tools to lessen the impact of unexpected torrential rain, with a switch to more tolerant varieties the only option for many. This can take many years to establish new crops. That threatens the nascent resurgence in Australian wine exports, which grew in 2014/15 for the first time in seven years as the industry battled a stronger Australian dollar, increased competition from Europe and stiff tariffs in some Asian nations. A weaker local currency and trade deals in several countries have helped exporters, but increased competition from Europe is still hurting. Industry groups are also calling for government assistance to help reverse an 8 percent fall in sales last year to the United States, Australia's largest market. In the Hunter, growers are crossing their fingers, hoping for no further rain in the next month, the only way they'll avoid production losses, said McGuigan, while other wine areas are studying the fallout from recent hot weather. "The crop levels are a moving feast," said Andrew Weeks, executive director of the industry body, Wine Grape Growers Authority. "Many regions agree that berry size is down on many varieties, which will lead to a reduced yield in most cases."


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

Bunches of grapes hang from the vine in a vineyard in Alsace, before their harvest in Orschwihr, France, in this September 26, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/Files More PARIS (Reuters) - Good news for wine drinkers: a leading international body says grape vines are a hardy little number and can survive climate change, at least over the medium term. Earlier harvesting, changes in grape varieties and new wine-making processes have already helped counter the impact of the harsher weather hitting vineyards across the globe, the head of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) says. "Wine producers all over the world have adapted to the changes and the plant has a capacity of adjustment that you can find in no other plant," OIV Director General Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters in an interview. He cited the example of the Canary island of Lanzarote where vines are grown in lava which absorbs overnight dew - virtually the sole water they receive in the summer - and releases it during the day. In China, he said, more than 80 percent of production acreage is located in regions where temperatures can drop below minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter. Growers cover vines to protect them and uncover them when spring comes. Some winemakers, meanwhile, are shifting the way they produce wine. Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, for example, is testing technology to water vines underground and is expanding fermentation capacity to combat the impact of climate change on its vineyards around the world. "You can adapt to climate change or you can react to it," Treasury Wine Chief Supply Officer Stuart McNab said at a Reuters Global Climate Change Summit last year. "You've got time to react, but you've got to know what's happening." Despite the worries of many producers, notably in the Champagne region, Aurand was not very concerned for the future of wines sold under protected designation labels that tie them to the soil and viticulture practices of a specific region such as the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) system in France. "We have today other strains and cultivation techniques, so I'm not worried in the short or mid-term on this question, which does not mean we should not consider the issue of climate change as a whole," Aurand said. It was too early to give an outlook for 2050, he said. The OIV sees global wine output rising 2 percent in 2015 to 275.7 million hectolitres (mhl), Aurand said. A 10-percent rebound in Italy's output meant it would regain its position as leading world producer after losing it to France last year due to a weather-hit grape crop. OIV gave an initial consumption forecast for 2015 at between 235.7 and 248.8 mhl, down from around 240 mhl last year. As opposed to western European countries where consumers are drinking less wine, consumption would rise again in the United States, which became the world's largest consumer in 2013, it said.


News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

Bunches of grapes hang from the vine in a vineyard in Alsace, before their harvest in Orschwihr, France, in this September 26, 2015 file photo. A tractor makes its way through vineyards which produce grapes for the Puisseguin-Saint Emillion wine as fair weather continues during the autumn season in Puisseguin, near Bordeaux, France, in this October 23, 2015 file photo. Late autumn colours in vineyards mark a change in the season in Soultz in the Alsace region of eastern France, in this October 22, 2015 file photo Bunches of grapes hang from the vine in a vineyard in Alsace, before their harvest in Orschwihr, France, in this September 26, 2015 file photo. PARIS Good news for wine drinkers: a leading international body says grape vines are a hardy little number and can survive climate change, at least over the medium term. Earlier harvesting, changes in grape varieties and new wine-making processes have already helped counter the impact of the harsher weather hitting vineyards across the globe, the head of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) says. "Wine producers all over the world have adapted to the changes and the plant has a capacity of adjustment that you can find in no other plant," OIV Director General Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters in an interview. He cited the example of the Canary island of Lanzarote where vines are grown in lava which absorbs overnight dew - virtually the sole water they receive in the summer - and releases it during the day. In China, he said, more than 80 percent of production acreage is located in regions where temperatures can drop below minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter. Growers cover vines to protect them and uncover them when spring comes. Some winemakers, meanwhile, are shifting the way they produce wine. Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, for example, is testing technology to water vines underground and is expanding fermentation capacity to combat the impact of climate change on its vineyards around the world. "You can adapt to climate change or you can react to it," Treasury Wine Chief Supply Officer Stuart McNab said at a Reuters Global Climate Change Summit last year. "You've got time to react, but you've got to know what's happening." Despite the worries of many producers, notably in the Champagne region, Aurand was not very concerned for the future of wines sold under protected designation labels that tie them to the soil and viticulture practices of a specific region such as the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) system in France. "We have today other strains and cultivation techniques, so I'm not worried in the short or mid-term on this question, which does not mean we should not consider the issue of climate change as a whole," Aurand said. It was too early to give an outlook for 2050, he said. The OIV sees global wine output rising 2 percent in 2015 to 275.7 million hectolitres (mhl), Aurand said. A 10-percent rebound in Italy's output meant it would regain its position as leading world producer after losing it to France last year due to a weather-hit grape crop. OIV gave an initial consumption forecast for 2015 at between 235.7 and 248.8 mhl, down from around 240 mhl last year. As opposed to western European countries where consumers are drinking less wine, consumption would rise again in the United States, which became the world's largest consumer in 2013, it said.


News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

Rows of vines can be seen at sunset at Yalumba's Jansz estate in the Tamar Valley, located in the northeast of Tasmania June 4, 2014. Just weeks out from the 2016 harvest, the contrasting events highlight the challenges from climate change, particularly extreme weather, faced by the world's fourth-largest wine exporter. Not only are wine growing regions getting hotter, weather is also becoming more unpredictable, scientists say. "We've had one of the biggest downpours we have had in a long time," said Neil McGuigan, chief executive of Australian Vintage Ltd, one of the largest wine producers in the Hunter Valley, some 250 km (155 miles) north of Sydney. "We are on the edge, if we get more rain, we will start to develop disease and as soon as that happens, you will not be able to harvest the fruit," said McGuigan. As much as 200 millimetres (7.9 inches) of rain fell across Australia's east coast last week, data from the country's Bureau of Meteorology shows, twice the average January rainfall. By contrast, Bernie Worthington in Western Australia lost his vineyard when a bushfire burned his property in Waroona in the state's southwest last week. Even if wildfires don't destroy a crop, they can leave an entire vintage with "smoke taint", leading to wines that taste like an ashtray. The climate extremes seen through the 2015/16 season are a foretaste of future climate change, scientists say, which is threatening the outlook for Australia's wine industry. Australia produces about 1.2 million tonnes of wine a year, exporting more than half to the United States, Britain and Asia in sales worth A$1.96 billion ($1.37 billion) in 2014/15. But its main wine regions are getting hotter and drier, with temperatures projected to increase by between 0.3 and 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030, according to Australia's science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). At the same time, the CSIRO said the intensity of extreme rainfall events is likely to increase, a pattern already seen over the last 12 months. "The science projections do not point to Australia's climate getting any more favorable," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank. Climate change mitigation is at the forefront of plans by Australia's largest growers, including Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, which is looking at cooler climate vineyards in places like the southernmost island state of Tasmania. Other measures to deal with warmer temperatures include new irrigation methods that save water and specially developed sunscreen that is sprayed on grapes. But growers say they have only limited tools to lessen the impact of unexpected torrential rain, with a switch to more tolerant varieties the only option for many. This can take many years to establish new crops. That threatens the nascent resurgence in Australian wine exports, which grew in 2014/15 for the first time in seven years as the industry battled a stronger Australian dollar, increased competition from Europe and stiff tariffs in some Asian nations. A weaker local currency and trade deals in several countries have helped exporters, but increased competition from Europe is still hurting. Industry groups are also calling for government assistance to help reverse an 8 percent fall in sales last year to the United States, Australia's largest market. In the Hunter, growers are crossing their fingers, hoping for no further rain in the next month, the only way they'll avoid production losses, said McGuigan, while other wine areas are studying the fallout from recent hot weather. "The crop levels are a moving feast," said Andrew Weeks, executive director of the industry body, Wine Grape Growers Authority. "Many regions agree that berry size is down on many varieties, which will lead to a reduced yield in most cases."


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

Bunches of grapes hang from the vine in a vineyard in Alsace, before their harvest in Orschwihr, France, in this September 26, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/Files More PARIS (Reuters) - Good news for wine drinkers: a leading international body says grape vines are a hardy little number and can survive climate change, at least over the medium term. Earlier harvesting, changes in grape varieties and new wine-making processes have already helped counter the impact of the harsher weather hitting vineyards across the globe, the head of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) says. "Wine producers all over the world have adapted to the changes and the plant has a capacity of adjustment that you can find in no other plant," OIV Director General Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters in an interview. He cited the example of the Canary island of Lanzarote where vines are grown in lava which absorbs overnight dew - virtually the sole water they receive in the summer - and releases it during the day. In China, he said, more than 80 percent of production acreage is located in regions where temperatures can drop below minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter. Growers cover vines to protect them and uncover them when spring comes. Some winemakers, meanwhile, are shifting the way they produce wine. Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, for example, is testing technology to water vines underground and is expanding fermentation capacity to combat the impact of climate change on its vineyards around the world. "You can adapt to climate change or you can react to it," Treasury Wine Chief Supply Officer Stuart McNab said at a Reuters Global Climate Change Summit earlier this month. "You've got time to react, but you've got to know what's happening." Despite the worries of many producers, notably in the Champagne region, Aurand was not very concerned for the future of wines sold under protected designation labels that tie them to the soil and viticulture practices of a specific region such as the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) system in France. "We have today other strains and cultivation techniques, so I'm not worried in the short or mid-term on this question, which does not mean we should not consider the issue of climate change as a whole," Aurand said. It was too early to give an outlook for 2050, he said. The OIV sees global wine output rising 2 percent in 2015 to 275.7 million hectoliters (mhl), Aurand said. A 10-percent rebound in Italy's output meant it would regain its position as leading world producer after losing it to France last year due to a weather-hit grape crop. OIV gave an initial consumption forecast for 2015 at between 235.7 and 248.8 mhl, down from around 240 mhl last year. As opposed to western European countries where consumers are drinking less wine, consumption would rise again in the United States, which became the world's largest consumer in 2013, it said.

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