A talented research team from UTAS (University of Tasmania) recently conducted a survey using climate science. They provided important information on tackling climate change & its effects on the Aussie wine community. The team even provided tools as well as practical management solutions to help the industry battle both short-term as well as long-term climate cycles & variations.
The project was led by Dr Rebecca Harris, who employed a multi-disciplinary approach in order to integrate a variety of fields – viticulture expertise, climate science & species distribution modelling.
Another member of the team – Dr Tom Remenyi, stated that inter-annual climate changes have always been an issue for the wine industry. These could include spring frosts, bushfires, and heatwaves at either flowering or prior to harvest – all of which are huge financial losses for the growers & vintners. Remenyi further said that the pace of climate change will only increase such incidents in the future.
Discussions & surveys conducted with winemakers as well as viticulturists outlined the need for:
Fine-scale regional projections across Australia.
Inter-annual as well as decadal forecasts of climate change driven by the Pacific Decadal & El Nino Southern Oscillations.
This UTAS project aims to help wine professionals select adaptive strategies for the most rewarding long-term returns, providing short-term as well as long-term estimates of climate changes across the country, with its prime focus on the wine community. It will help identify weather risks, develop region-specific heat wave indices, and manufacture a tool to rapidly compare microclimates of various regions – allowing one to estimate vineyard conditions in the future as well.
Dr Remenyi believes that statistical knowledge of weather conditions expected over the coming decades would help winemakers take advantage of new opportunities as well as markets.