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US wine industry ‘doing nothing’ on climate change, Taste3 hears

A leading US climate change researcher says the US wine industry is ‘doing nothing’ to study the problem.

Further research and adaptation is crucial for continued success in wine growing areas, Professor Greg Jones of Southern Oregon University said – but the US is ‘in denial’.

‘It is absolutely clear that viticultural climates of tomorrow will not be as they are today,’ Jones said at the Taste3 conference at Napa’s Copia earlier this month.

Predicted changes include warmer and longer growing seasons, warmer dormant periods, reduced frost damage in some areas, altered ripening profiles, and changes in soil fertility and erosion.

‘The Australian industry has funded numerous projects on weather and climate influences and impacts over the last couple of years, while the US has done virtually nothing,’ Jones said.

‘Australia has had 12-plus years of drought and the US has not. Leaders in Australia see the risk and are reacting while the US is still mostly in denial.’

He added, ‘Wine industries have a tremendous adaptive capacity, but cannot achieve change without agreeing there is an issue, and developing clear strategies associated with research, policy, adaptation, and mitigation.’

Written by Janice Fuhrman in Napa

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