How climate change has been affecting wine grape harvests

How Climate Change Has Been Affecting Wine Grape Harvests

Climate change is causing shifts in growing grapes for wine, according to a newly published study conducted by NASA and Harvard University.

Researchers found that, between 1981 and 2007, grapes were harvested much earlier compared to the previous centuries between 1600 to 1980 regardless of drought conditions.

As such, a NASA news release states, "The results indicate a fundamental shift in the role of drought and moisture as large-scale drivers of harvest time and wine quality."

Click through to see some types of wine and where they come from:

Types of wine and where they come from
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How climate change has been affecting wine grape harvests

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes originated in France. 

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The earliest known use of the Merlot grape was in France. It is now the most widely planted red wine grape in the world. 

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Pinot noir grapes are most often associated with France. 

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While Chardonnay's origin is in France, the grapes are now grown worldwide. 

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Moscato is made from the Muscat grape which originated in Italy. 

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Pinot grigio is an Italian creation from the Pinot gris grape. 

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Malbec is a celebrated Argentinian wine. 

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The French Sauvignon blanc grapes are grown worldwide, especially in France, Chile, Australia, South Africa and California. 

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Shiraz is blended from the DNA of various French grapes.

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Gewurztraminer grapes originate in Germany and flourish in colder climates. 

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Riesling grapes originated in Germany's Rhine region. 

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Zinfandel grapes have similar DNA to several Croatian grapes, and are grown heavily in California. 

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Climate is considered a key factor in wine quality, with ideal conditions typically involving "warm summers with above-average rainfall early in the growing season and late-season drought."

As one of the paper's authors, Elizabeth Wolkovich with Harvard University, explains, "This gives vines plenty of heat and moisture to grow early in the season, while drier conditions later in the season shift them away from vegetative growth and toward greater fruit production."

The study involved an analysis of data from Western European wine growing regions between the years 1600 to 2007.

Variables that were examined include harvest dates, climate data, and weather-related data, among others.

Wolkovich believes the earlier harvests could mean higher-quality wines for producers in those regions.

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