Wine + Global Warming = :(

We’re constantly talking about climate change in the face of California’s wildfires and the current election. We use the words “climate change” to explain the unexplainable like the bizarrely warm days that pop up in January and February.

Beyond the devastating fires, what other impacts does climate change have in California? Well, for one, we see changes in the wine industry. Wineries are altering their techniques to account for the warmer weather and vineyards are changing their cultivation process to produce less carbon.

As the weather gets warmer, vineyard owners are expanding their territory, finding new areas to grow grapes. For example, before climate change ramped up, it was too cold in England to make wine. Now that it’s warm enough there, they too can make the drink, and their economy reaps the benefit. While the English have benefited from the hotter temperatures, places that are already growing wine (such as Chile) have had to relocate their vineyards to find the best places to grow grapes.

In the face of this environmental challenge, some wineries have banded together and vowed to reduce their carbon footprint. International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) are starting the trend by creating 10 and 25 year goals to reduce their individual carbon footprints.

Why is IWCA taking measures to help fight climate change? First, there’s the obvious reason that we all benefit from a healthier atmosphere. More than that, vineyards are very vulnerable to climate change. Grapes do not like it when the weather changes. They do not grow well in inconsistent weather. In turn, wine produced from these grapes tastes different and doesn’t sell. So, in addition to public health, the IWCA has vested personal interest in reversing the trend.

Unfortunately, many small wineries are unable to participate in this activism as they are spending all of their resources on production. Even though not all wineries have the money to be so environmentally conscious, they are becoming increasingly aware. Wine makers are now more conscious of their impact on the environment. This is particularly true in California where the wildfires are such a clear example of what might happen if we continue to destroy the atmosphere.

What do we do from here? Well, even if you don’t manage a winery, you too can think about your carbon footprint. Measures as simple as taking shorter showers help care for our planet. Think about the difference you can make. And if all else fails, keep enjoying the wine!

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