How is climate change influencing Spanish vineyards?

How is climate change influencing Spanish vineyards?

The spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA) has made public the annual report on the potential of viticultural production which, in general terms, evidences a continuous downturn of vine cultivation from 1980 until today of 42% in Cultivated area. In 1980 there was a cultivated area of 1,642,622 hectares, while currently the vineyards occupy 953,607 hectares.

Along with the decrease in surface area, the evolution of the vineyard map in Spain in the last 40 years is also noteworthy, with a clear tendency to move towards the north, reflecting an evident change in dynamics: it has changed from having a very large expansion in the south of Spain and hardly anything in the north.

Some of this changes in dymamics may be due to the climate, since it plays the most decisive and difficult role to control in the elaboration of wine. The spring and summer seasons in Spain are becoming drier and hotter, and consequently the vineyard, which is so intimately linked to the rhythm of the seasons and the evolution of temperatures, is acting as one of the best bioindicators of climate change in agriculture.

Matías Vela, winery consultant, approved trainer and technical director sommelier of explains that to maintain production rhytms of som PODs it woild be necessary to advance the harvest activity and start harvesting with practically green grapes. But that would have disaster results, since it would directly affect the wine characteristics, which in addition to being odorless, would have a very harsh taste and a bitter and astringent tannin, that ruins the quality of the wine.

To deal with this situation there are different adaptation processes, some wineries have already been using changes in the crop system, substitution of varieties, vertical displacement, irrigation contribution, etc.

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