As climate changes, so will wine grapes

Jan 11, 2018

(HarvardNews) - To adapt to warmer temperatures, vintners may have to plant lesser-known varieties

If you want to buy good wine, Elizabeth Wolkovich says, you’re going to want to stop looking at labels and just listen to your taste buds.

An assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, Wolkovich is a co-author of a new study that suggests that, although vineyards may be able to counteract some of the effects of climate change by planting lesser-known grape varieties, scientists and vintners need to better understand the wide diversity of grapes and their adaptions to different climates. The study is described in a Jan. 2 paper in  Nature Climate Change.

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to … for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” Wolkovich said. “But what we’re interested in talking about is how much more diversity of grape varieties do we have, and could we potentially be using that diversity to adapt to climate change?

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