Climate change could boost UK wine production •

Over the past two decades, climate change has contributed to significant growth in the UK vineyard – with over 800 vineyards at present – and award-winning wine production. Building on the latest climate projections, a team of researchers led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Vinescapes Ltd have now mapped the potential for the wine industry over the next 20 years and found that the Climate change is likely to further increase the quantity and quality of wine production, with conditions expected to resemble those in some of the world’s most famous wine regions in France and Germany.

“We have seen viticulture in the UK expand by almost 400%, from 761 to 3,800 hectares between 2004 and 2021,” said study co-author Stephen Dorling, professor of meteorology at the UEA. “During this period, global warming has supported much more reliable yield and quality of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes – these varieties are blended in the production of Champagne-style sparkling wine.”

“Hot and dry growing seasons in the UK like 2018, with below average disease problems in the vines, led to the production of a record 15.6 million bottles and these growing conditions are already become and should become more common.”

Prof Dorling and his colleagues used UK climate projection scenarios to assess the future suitability of UK wine varieties and styles over the next two decades, as well as the potential for investment in viticulture, l sector adaptation and resilience. They found that areas of East Anglia, Lincolnshire, South Central England, North East Wales and coastal areas of South Wales and South West England will most likely experience conditions similar to 2018 in 60-75% of the next 20 years, while large parts of south-east and east England should be suitable for producing still-red pinot noir.

“We have shown that in parts of the UK the exceptional 2018 vintage will become the norm, and that Champagne region grape growing temperatures from 1999 to 2018 are expected to occur in an expanding region of the England between 2021 and 2040,” the study said. lead author Alistair Nesbitt, viticultural climatologist at Vinescapes Ltd. and still Baden-style red wines.

However, scientists warn that the rapidly changing UK climate is forcing the wine industry to remain nimble and not get stuck in production that cannot adapt to ever-changing growing conditions. Moreover, the unpredictability of the British climate – which caused massive losses for the wine industry in 2012, for example – must also be taken into account when deciding which grape varieties to grow and in which regions.

“There are exciting times ahead for the UK wine sector, but our findings have underscored the challenge of establishing wine identities and brands, particularly those closely associated with wine varieties and styles, in a rapidly changing climate,” Professor Dorling concluded.

The study is published in the journal OENO One.

By Andrei Ionescu, Personal editor

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