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Climate scare for Oz

Published:  23 July, 2008

Australia may have to dramatically change both its wine styles and preferred grape varieties due to climate change, according to a new report from the University of Melbourne and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Rising temperatures - potentially by up to 1.7C by 2030 - are particularly relevant to wine producers and could result in changing budburst dates, shorter growing seasons, earlier harvest reports and the reduction of grape quality by between 12%-57%, the research reveals.

PhD student Leanne Webb compiled the research and commented: The ripening period in some regions will become too warm to produce balanced wines from some or maybe all grape varieties growing there now.'

Key players in the Australian wine trade are playing down the risk and Stephen Strachan, chief executive of the Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA), told Harpers: We need to be careful about drawing conclusions based on any worst-case analysis. A substantial development potential remains in much cooler climates and regarding existing regions, it is too early to make predictions about product quality.'