Climate Change Offers Up a New Wine List

Climate change could dramatically affect the microclimates that have made California wine country so successful. (Photo: Lauren Sommer)

You’ve probably heard of the wines that made Napa and Sonoma famous, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. But what about Negroamaro or Nero d’Avola?

They’re wine grapes that are well-adapted to hotter climates – the kind of conditions that California may be facing as the climate continues to warm. But for wineries that have staked their reputations on certain wines, adapting to climate change could be a tough sell.

Talk to any wine lover in California and they’ll tell you how lucky they are to live in such rich wine-producing region. Take the recent meeting of the San Francisco Wine Lovers Group at Toast wine bar in Oakland, where the favorites are California Pinot Noir, Russian River Zinfandel, and Napa Cabernet.

In fact, the type of grape – or varietal – is how most of us think about wine. Continue reading

The Heat is On for Napa Valley Wines

Temperatures are rising for Napa Valley grapes. (Photo: KQED Quest.)

California’s prime wine producing areas could shrink dramatically over the next three decades of climate change. That’s according to a study released this week by scientists at Stanford University.

Author Noah Diffenbaugh and colleagues looked at how Napa and Santa Barbara counties could be affected by a one-degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in average global temperature. They found that the land suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced 30-50% by 2040. Continue reading