The many ways climate change affects the wine industry.

Wine grapes are highly sensitive to changes in climate. So how will the future of the wine industry be impacted by global warming?

Climate is both friend and foe to the winemaking industry. The ‘terroir,’ or geology, landscape, soil, and, most importantly, the temperature, determine what grape varieties can be grown as well as shaping the quality and yield of the harvest. When the climatic conditions are good, then you can expect a great vintage.

But severe weather can destroy vineyards. And now, wine producers are contending with a potentially bigger threat: global warming.

Heavy rain during the flowering season, frost in the spring, hail, and strong winds. Wine producers have contended with these threats for centuries and have developed innovative risk management strategies.

For instance, to protect against frost, which hit 40 percent of Bordeaux’s 2017 wine harvest, “some wine producers use massive static fans – or even hire helicopters to hover over their vineyards – to circulate warm air over the vines,” explains Mervyn Rea, Head of Zurich Commercial Services for Australia & New Zealand, which insures over 80 wineries including many of the world-famous Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions.