Impact of Climate Change

Climate change affects the regime of precipitation and temperature, directly impacting agricultural activities and particularly plant growth and productions. Among environmental factors, climate has a greater impact on vine development and fruit composition compared to soil and grapevine variety (van Leeuwen and Darriet, 2016). In the Mediterranean area, the vegetative cycle of the vine are taking place in warmer and drier conditions, which affect biomass production, berry ripening and the dynamics of diseases and pests (van Leeuwen et al., 2019). The change entails an overall temperature increase, local changes in precipitation patterns, but also an increase of extreme event frequency, e.g. in heat waves, hailstorms, late frost spells, and excessive rainfall events, affecting crops in general, and particularly a highly-specialized one as grapevine (Bindi et al., 1996; White et al., 2006; Fraga et al, 2013; Mosedale et al., 2015).

Climate is an important forcing factor on grapevine vegetative growth (van Leeuwen et al., 2004). Global warming results in an anticipation of phenological stages over time (Moriondo and Bindi, 2007; Webb et al., 2012; Alikadic et al, 2019). This induces earlier budding – generally not reducing frost risk, due to possible higher temperature variability (Mosedale et al., 2015) - and earlier ripening, modifying the composition of the grapes and its qualitative potential, with direct influence on higher sugar and lower acidity levels, threatening wine production and quality (Tate, 2001; Orduna, 2010). Wine production is indeed already affected both quantitatively and qualitatively with socio-economic impacts at stake (Jones et al, 2005; Orduna, 2010; Ashenfelter and Storchmann, 2010).

Another important consequence of climate change is the vine water need evolution (Fraga et al., 2018; Weiler et al., 2019). Heavy water deficit impairs photosynthesis and shoot growth, and reduces berry size (van Leeuwen and Darriet, 2016). Vineyards are especially sensitive to the lack of water, since they have been traditionally placed on relatively dry soils, due to the effort to prioritize food production in the most fertile lands with access to water for the underlying territories, but also aiming at producing quality wines, thanks to the positive physiological effects of the scarcer soils (Koundouras et al., 1997). Grapevine production may be affected not only by the quantitative changes in rainfall amounts, but also to their seasonal distribution (Santillán et al, 2019).

Mediterranean vineyards represent 40% of world vine area, providing livelihoods to millions of farmers and wine industry workers. The sector needs to look into the future with a range of agronomic, organizational and market-based strategies (Jones et al., 2006), as well as by applying the necessary adaptation strategies (van Leeuwen and Destrac-Irvine, 2017; van Leeuwen et al., 2019). However, the sector is pegged at very old traditions and the industry has adjusted to the growing conditions imposed by the challenging environment over years (Santillán et al, 2019; Fraga et al., 2013a). The concept of terroir, conceived for typical wine production bound to their geographic, environmental, and cultural contexts, is unique in the agricultural sector; it is easy to understand that the climatic shift is a strong challenge to the permanence of the optimal conditions of grapevine production in their original areas (van Leeuwen et al. 2004). In general, the idea that particular grapevine varieties will be permanently linked to their original areas might be subject to a revision in the future, and model simulations witness the interest in this prognostic exercise (Malheiro et al., 2010; Moriondo et al. 2011; Moriondo et al. 2013; Hannah et al, 2012; Eccel et al., 2016).

For a thorough review of the effects of climate change on the viticultural and wine sector, see also two works by H. Fraga: a review (Fraga et al., 2013b) and a special issue (Fraga [ed.], 2019).

A world map easily showing the expected temperature increase is the Climate Impact Map (see ref. at the bottom).



Alikadic, A., Pertot, I., Eccel, E., Dolci, C., Zarbo, C., Caffarra, A., De Filippi, R., Furlanello, R., 2019. The impact of climate change on grapevine phenology and the influence of altitude: A regional study. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 271:73-82

Ashenfelter, O., and K. Storchmann. 2010. Measuring the economic effect of global warming on viticulture using auction, retail, and wholesale prices. Rev. Ind. Organ. 37:51–64.

Bindi, M., L. Fibbi, B. Gozzini, S. Orlandini, and F. Miglietta, 1996. Modelling the impact of future climate scenarios on yield and yield variability of grapevine. Clim. Res. 7:213–224.

Eccel, E.,  Zollo, A.L.,  Mercogliano, P., Zorer, R., 2016. Simulations of quantitative shift in bio-climatic indices in the viticultural areas of Trentino (Italian Alps) by an open source R package. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 127 (2016) 92–100.

Fraga, H., A. C. Malheiro, J. Moutinho-Pereiram, and J. A. Santos. 2013a. Future scenarios for viticultural zoning in Europe: ensemble projections and uncertainties. Int. J. Biometeorol. 1–17. doi: 10.1007/s00484-012-0617-8.

Fraga, A. C. Malheiro, J. Moutinho-Pereira & J. A. Santos, 2013b. An overview of climate change impacts on European viticulture. Food and Energy Security 2012 - 1(2): 94–110.

Fraga, H.; García de Cortázar Atauri, I.; Santos, J.A., 2018. Viticultural irrigation demands under climate change scenarios in Portugal. Agric. Water Manag. 196, 66–74.

Fraga, H, (ed.), 2019. Viticulture and Winemaking under Climate Change. Agronomy, Special Issue. issues/viticulture winemaking climate change.

Hannah, L., Roehrdanz, P.R., Ikegami, M., Shepard, A.V., Shaw, M.R., Tabor, G., Zhi, L., Marquet, P.A., and Hijmans, R.J., 2012. Climate change, wine, and conservation. PNAS April 23, 2013 110 (17) 6907-6912;

Jones, G. V., M. A. White, O. R. Cooper, and K. Storchmann. 2005. Climate change and global wine quality. Clim. Change 73:319–343.

Jones, G. V. 2006. Climate and terroir: impacts of climate variability and change on wine. Pp. 1–14 in R. W. Macqueen, L. D. Meinert, eds. Fine wine and terroir – the geoscience perspective. Geoscience Canada, Geological Association of Canada, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

Koundouras, S., C. Van Leeuwen, G. Seguin, and Y. Glories, 1999. Influence of water status on vine vegetative growth, berry ripening and wine characteristics in mediterranean zone (example of Nemea, Greece, variety Saint-George, 1997). J. Int. Sci. Vigne. Vin. 33:149–160.

Malheiro, A. C., J. A. Santos, H. Fraga, and J. G. Pinto. 2010. Climate change scenarios applied to viticultural zoning in Europe. Clim. Res. 43:163–177.

Moriondo, M., and M. Bindi, 2007. Impact of climate change on the phenology of typical mediterranean crops. Italian J. Agrometeorol. 3:5–12.

Moriondo, M., M. Bindi, C. Fagarazzi, R. Ferrise, Trombi, G., 2011. Framework for high-resolution climate change impact assessment on grapevines at a regional scale. Reg Environ Change 11:553–567 DOI 10.1007/s10113-010-0171-z.

Moriondo, M. & G. V. Jones & B. Bois & C. Dibari & R. Ferrise & G. Trombi & M. Bindi, 2013. Projected shifts of wine regions in response to climate change. Climatic Change 119:825–839 DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0739-y

Mosedale, J.R.; Wilson, R.J.; Maclean, I.M.D., 2015. Climate Change and Crop Exposure to Adverse Weather: Changes to Frost Risk and Grapevine Flowering Conditions. PLoS ONE, 10, e0141218.

Orduna, R. M. 2010. Climate change associated effects on grape and wine quality and production. Food Res. Int. 43:1844–1855.

Santillán, D., V. Sotés, A. Iglesias, and L. Garrote, 2019. Adapting viticulture to climate change in the Mediterranean region: Evaluations accounting for spatial differences in the producers-climate interactions. Edited by Jean-Marie Aurand. BIO Web of Conferences 12 (2019): 01001.

Tate, B., 2001. Global Warming’s Impact on Wine. Journal of Wine Research, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 95–109

van Leeuwen, C.; Friant, P.; Choné, X.; Tregoat, O.; Koundouras, S.; Dubordieu, D., 2004. Influence of climate, soil, and cultivar on terroir. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 55, 207–217.

van Leeuwen, Cornelis, and Philippe Darriet, 2016. The Impact of Climate Change on Viticulture and Wine Quality. Journal of Wine Economics 11, no 1 (May 2016): 150‑67.

van Leeuwen, C., and Agnès Destrac-Irvine, 2017. Modified grape composition under climate change conditions requires adaptations in the vineyard. Oeno One, Volume 51 , Number 2.

van Leeuwen, C.; Destrac-Irvine, A.; Dubernet, M.; Duchêne, E.; Gowdy, M.; Marguerit, E.; Pieri, P.; Parker, A.; de Rességuier, L.; Ollat, N., 2019. An Update on the Impact of Climate Change in Viticulture and Potential Adaptations. Agronomy, 9, 514.

Webb, L. B., P. H. Whetton, J. Bhend, R. Darbyshire, P. R. Briggs, and E. W. R. Barlow. 2012. Earlier wine-grape ripening driven by climatic warming and drying and management practices. Nat. Clim. Change 2:259–264.

Weiler, C.S.; Merkt, N.; Hartung, J.; Graeff-Honninger, S., 2019. Variability among Young Table Grape Cultivars in Response to Water Deficit and Water Use Efficiency. Agronomy, 9, 135.

White, M. A., N. S. Diffenbaugh, G. V. Jones, J. S. Pal, and F. Giorgi, 2006. Extreme heat reduces and shifts United States premium wine production in the 21st century. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103:11217–11222.


Website reference: Climate Impact Map: