Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The International Organisation of Vine and Wine has stated it is not concerned about the impact of climate change, at least in the short to medium term.
According to Reuters;
Good news for wine drinkers: a leading international body says grape vines are a hardy little number and can survive climate change, at least over the medium term.
Earlier harvesting, changes in grape varieties and new wine-making processes have already helped counter the impact of the harsher weather hitting vineyards across the globe, the head of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) says.
“Wine producers all over the world have adapted to the changes and the plant has a capacity of adjustment that you can find in no other plant,” OIV Director General Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters in an interview.
He cited the example of the Canary island of Lanzarote where vines are grown in lava which absorbs overnight dew – virtually the sole water they receive in the summer – and releases it during the day.
In China, he said, more than 80 percent of production acreage is located in regions where temperatures can drop below minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter. Growers cover vines to protect them and uncover them when spring comes.
This kind of broad range of growing conditions seems common. Pick up any vegetable seed packet from your local garden shop, and you will see instructions for growing the plant in a wide range of climatic conditions, in different regions of your country.
Staple crops like Wheat are grown in conditions ranging from Canada and Siberia, on the edge of the Arctic, to the blistering hot Australian Outback.
Warmth loving plants such as tomatoes sometimes have to be started in a greenhouse, when grown in cold countries. On a commercial scale, this is often achieved by covering acres of new seedbeds with plastic.
The successful adaption of rice to a wide variety conditions is even more spectacular. Dr Peter Jennings probably deserves a post of his own – he literally saved millions of people in Asia from starvation, by selective breeding, providing the world with new, high yielding varieties of rice.
Even coffee bushes can cope with a broad range of environmental growing conditions. There are commercial coffee growers in Australia, who produce coffee in climatic conditions far removed from more traditional alpine equatorial coffee producing countries.
In my opinion, it is no exaggeration to suggest climate scares about food production in a warmer world are nonsense. It is good to see industry bodies like the International Organisation of Vine and Wine starting to push back against such claims.