California’s wine country, a region of Californiain the northern San Francisco Bay Area, which is known worldwide as a premier wine growing region, is facing a climate crisis. The region, including the famous Napa and Sonoma valleys, faces a climate crisis so dire that it’s posing an existential threat to the future of the state’s wine industry, as per a Bloomberg report.
Grapes have been hit with one extreme condition after another. This year’s season started out with a deep frost that iced over verdant green buds, nipping them right off the vine. For the crops that survived, the freeze quickly gave way to drought and heat. just about a month ago, record breaking temperatures baked parched vineyards. Then there’s the ever-present threat of wildfires and smoke damage.
How Climate Crisis Is Affecting California’s $45 Billion Wine Industry
The state’s winegrape production is expected to drop almost 4% this year to 3.5 million tons, according to US Department of Agriculture estimates. What’s more striking is that it will reportedly be the second-smallest crop of the decadetrailing only the fire-ravaged harvest from 2020.
For Craig Ledbetter, who owns and helps manage more than 15,000 acres of wine grapes throughout California, extreme frost in the Central Valley’s Lodi and Clarksburg wine areas wiped out about a third of the crop on his family vineyards in the region during this year’s late freeze , the report mentioned.
Over the years, there’s been plenty to think about what climate change will mean for California’s $45 billion wine industry. But now experts are starting to say the vineyards are already near the tipping point. It’s not about what will happen in the future, as the vicious cycle of more intense, more frequent, crop-killing disasters has already begun.
And it’s not just one bad season. In the past several years, the trend has been down for the California harvest. If this year’s USDA forecast of 3.5 million tons is realized, that would be a drop of 18% from a peak of 4.29 million in 2018. Output hasn’t reached 4 million since 2019, as per Bloomberg.
Damage Beyond California Too
But the problems extend beyond California. Climate pressures are reportedly weighing on vineyards worldwide. The changing conditions are making some historical wine areas in the Mediterranean and Australia inhospitablewhile new players are popping up in other regions, like the UK.
Also, as per the report, Will Drayton of Australia-based Treasury Wine Estates, which is one of the world’s largest wine companies with vineyards in Napa Valley, France’s Bordeaux and around the globe, said there’s no question that the industry is in the midst of a broad shift.
One potential change, according to Drayton, is rethinking the pinot noir that’s grown in California’s Los Carneros region, which sits in both Sonoma and Napa counties and is known for the red-grape varietal. With climate shifts in the area, it may make more sense to instead plant merlot, syrah or even cabernet, he said, as per the report.
“Harvest patterns have been moving around a lot,” said Drayton, Treasury’s director of technical viticulture, sustainability and research. “That requires a lot of quick pivoting on how to react.”
Also Read: India’s Tourism Sector Will Contribute $250 Billion To GDP By 2030
For the latest and interesting financial news, keep reading Indiatimes Worth. Click here.