Wine production could explode in Britain as the climate crisis transforms conditions into similar ones in famous wine regions such as Champagne and Burgundy in France and Baden in Germany, according to a new study.
Sparkling wine varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will begin to grow reliably in a much larger area of England and Wales as the country warms, predicts the article published in OENO One, peer-reviewed.
The hot and dry conditions of the exceptional 2018 “have already become and are expected to become more common”, said co-author and professor Steve Dorling of the University of East Anglia (UEA).
These vintage conditions will be repeated in at least 60% of the years between 2021 and 2040, his paper projects.
The 2018 heat wave was made 30 times more likely by the climate crisis, which is also expected to worsen heavy downpours and flooding and raise sea levels, putting thousands of homes threatened.
The wine industry has already grown by 400% from 761 to 3,800 hectares between 2004 and 2021, according to the newspaper, in part due to pollution from human activity that has warmed the planet.
Researchers from UEA, the London School of Economics, Vinescapes Ltd and Weatherquest Ltd designed a computer model to assess how often growing conditions in the UK were likely to resemble the climate recently recorded in Champagne and in Burgundy in France, and in Baden in Germany.
Britain’s average growing season temperature has warmed by 1°C and as it warms further winemakers will be able to grow a wider range of varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Semillon.
Meanwhile, large areas of South East and East England will become suitable for producing Pinot Noir as a still red wine – at the moment it is mainly produced as a sparkling wine.
“In some years, a few areas of the UK may see growing season climates similar to those that have contributed to the best recent Champagne vintages, as well as increased potential for Burgundy and Baden style still red wines,” said said the study. said the author, Dr Alistair Nesbitt, of vineyard and winery consultancy Vinescapes Ltd.
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