Why cli­mate change has stopped the wine

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Notebook -

There are around 1000 vines on 1ha (2.5 acres) of the lime­stone soil on Philip and Wendy’s block. Wendy is a prin­ci­pal re­search of­fi­cer for the Depart­ment of Wine, Food & Molec­u­lar Bio­sciences at Lin­coln Univer­sity and has a PHD in wine sci­ence which means the cou­ple has pro­duced im­pres­sive chardon­nay and pinot noir in low vol­ume from their small site.

But they are choos­ing to wind it down as the ef­fects of cli­mate change take hold.

“We’re al­ready one of the wettest vine­yards in the world be­cause we get West Coast rain here,” says Philip. “We get Nel­son sun and West Coast rain and it’s quite a nice com­bi­na­tion, but the rainfall is creep­ing up.”

An­nual rainfall has now hit 2000mm, al­though it’s not the rain it­self which is en­tirely to blame says Philip.

“What seems to be hap­pen­ing, the oceans are warm­ing up and evap­o­rat­ing and there’s more wa­ter vapour in the at­mos­phere. While that can trans­late to in­creased rainfall, it def­i­nitely trans­lates to in­creased cloud – we’re faced in the last year or two with a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing weather pat­tern.”

The grapes still grow but Philip says that wine qual­ity is at risk if they carry on.

“We’ve had a pe­riod of great fun and learn­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence, but in the last five years things have re­ally dra­mat­i­cally changed.”

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