Monday, May 6, 2013

Champagne from... England?

    In the past English wine was considered a joke, but recently the winemaking industry has become a growing market. A boom in British winemaking has been attributed to climate change. Average temperatures in Southern England have increased by at least 3°F since 1961.  The similar soil complexion and now warmer temperatures provide a climate similar to France’s world famous wine country.  The influence of climate change has fueled an economy that was once non-existent for England.
    England now has over 400 commercial vineyards. The sparkling wine production went from 300 thousand bottles in 2007 to 2 million bottles by 2011. Cultivated acres of land in England used for wine growing have grown 73% since 2007. This demonstrates a huge jump in the wine industry from the effects of regional climatic changes. England has even developed market for exporting wine to countries including Japan, Hong Kong, USA, and Australia.
    The climate changes have not only improved English winemaking, but also negatively influenced other regions of the world. For example, warmer temperatures have shifted grape harvests from late October to the beginning of September in France. Additionally, continued increased average temperatures could shrink Northern California’s vineyards by half.  The overall suitable winemaking bands are expected to shift 170 to 340 miles toward either pole in the next 100 years. It is anticipated that some regions that were once known for their wines will become inhospitable for winemaking, while new areas will become harvestable.
In my opinion the introduction of a new market from the results of climate change should be taken advantage, while it is available. I believe fighting further human induced climate change is a very important, but reversal of the current impacts is unlikely for many generations. If we have better growing conditions for any given crop, we should adapt as a society to earn economic benefits. It is likely that the climate will continue to change due to human-induced impacts, but while a harvestable resource is usable there may as well create jobs and support local economies.
    I believe there are probably many other similar markets that have been or will be dramatically influenced by changes in climate. These changes will need to be adapted to in order for more developed countries to economically flourish, while less developed countries work their way toward becoming developed.
--Holly Burkhardt

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