Winemakers Battle Climate Threat

Vineyard owners, scientists gather to share new strategies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2008 10:50 AM CST
"Each cellar is named after a family member," said the owner of one gava winery. "On the upper level, you have my father and my mother. Here's my aunt, and over there's my uncle."   (
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – For vineyards, global warming isn’t a distant, theoretical problem—it’s hurting their products now. That’s why winemakers and scientists are gathering in Barcelona this week to hash out ideas for combating changing temperatures and harsher sunlight, NPR reports. Recent studies have shown that grapes are ripening faster and losing their complexity as vineyard temperatures have risen.

“I remember how for weeks it used to rain and rain and rain,” said one Spanish winemaker, who now stores rain water to use during dry spells. Growers are also trying new techniques, like adding nutrients to soil, letting vines grow to create shade, and even monitoring conditions with satellites. Still more ideas could come from a planned 4-year, $370 million study.