Vino Vini Viti: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations for Small Wine Producers in Central Italy
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Climate change is a global challenge, affecting the everyday lives of people as well as sectors globally. In particular, changing temperatures and climates have a profound effect on the food sector. Wine, for example, is especially touched as it has a specific climate niche for growth and maturation of grapes. This research assesses the impacts of climate change on viticulture and possible adaptation strategies that wineries can implement. Numerous studies have been conducted to comprehend the intrinsic nature of wine and climate. However, not many studies focused on a local scale to understand adaptation strategies and how small wineries may be affected. The thesis focuses on two wineries in Italy: Pacina in Tuscany and Polidori in Umbria. The two can be considered similar in that they are found in hilly areas,produce organic wines, respect surrounding nature, and have minimal intervention strategies for cultivation and wine making. The effects of summer maximum temperatures are studied to see how they affect the grape ratio of sugar and pH, meanwhile seeing how future projections of RCP4.5 and RCP 8.5 may have an effect on wine. Lastly, possible adaptation strategies are assessed. Through the interviews, both wineries have seen changes in phenological phases,specifically when it comes to maturation and harvesting. During the last decades,the timing of the grapes ripening and harvesting have shifted forward. Increases in temperature have led to grapes containing more sugars, causing an increase in alcohol percentage in the wine. However, both wineries have been able to maintain complexity within the wine, therefore no significant alterations to the taste and quality. This latest finding is in contrast to what is usually described in the literature. There are different solutions that the wineries can implement which require little to no intervention for adaptation strategies. These solutions are in line with their nature-based ethos. A solution is to adopt blending of grape varieties when producing wine. Another one, which Pacina winery is interested in, is to assess what else can be planted alongside the grapevines. This is to, in part, expand their product range and therefore expand their business strategy and offering. Polidori would like to see change on a governmental level. In conclusion, there is no doubt that climate change is affecting these wineries. Adaptation strategies are needed that will not only allow these wineries to continue to product their wine, but that allow them to remain in line with the ethics and beliefs of winery.