Australian winemakers adapting to climate change

The results of a Curtin University survey have shown that Australian winemakers are trying to limit the effects of climate change by reducing the use of greenhouse gas-producing chemicals.

More than half of 532 businesses that were surveyed said they had reduced the use of agrichemicals.

Winemakers are also adjusting to a decrease in rainfall and rising temperatures. About three-quarters of West Australian winemakers said they were looking for ways to conserve water from their estates.

Although there are vast differences in the conditions of growing across Australia regionally, the differences between varietals within Australia are not as significant as in other countries. This implies that there is ample opportunity to investigate alternatives in the different regions of Australia, which is something that grape growers do on a regular basis when they think of ways to adjust to changes in climate.

These are just a few of the information gleaned from a brand-fresh resource that provides information on what grape varieties are being grown around the globe and provides winemakers with data that can be used to make crucial choices.

Changes in climate caused by Australian winemakers might mean switching to more robust southerly European grape varieties and sourcing grapes from higher altitude or high altitude regions in the event that wineries want to maintain their current blend of varieties. The development of new types can create a distinctive point for a winery’s product. To respond in this manner requires data on the results of the planting of varietals across the globe and here.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide created the 2010 database. The University of Adelaide includes 520 regions spread across 44 countries, thus covering 99 percent of all wine production worldwide, and has more than 1,270 varieties of wine grapes.

Measurement of the uniqueness of the product

Researchers have come up with the Varietal Similarity Index, also known as VSI, which measures the degree to which a region’s varietal mix compares to the other’s. The indicator uses a complicated formula. However, it is a range of zero to one. A VSI value of 0 signifies that a particular region’s variety does not have any overlap with another part (or the world in general or its area in an entirely different year), and a VSI of one indicates that both regions have the same proportion of bearing sizes under certain grape varieties.

In 2000, the VSI 2000 between Australia and the rest of the world was 0.45, which was the 9th worldwide. However, it climbed to 0.62 in the year 2010, putting it as the third highest in the world, after France, as well as (marginally) in the United States. The average of the VSIs for the other countries included in the sample did not change in the same period, which was 0.35. This means that Australia was not as distinct from the average country in its mix of varietals in 2000. And its distinctness weakened after 2010.

Winemakers are seeking alternatives to grape varieties as a response to climate change. 

What are the differences between the wine regions in Australia?

Despite the huge variations in conditions for growing across the nation, the varietal variations among regions in Australia are less prominent than they are in other countries. The regional average VSI of 0.53 is not too far off the national VSI of 0.62 in 2010 and is more than the average regional VSI in other countries included in the study. In France, for instance, in which each region is mandated by law to grow only a few varieties that have been deemed as the most appropriate for the area, the median of the regional VSIs for France is 0.29.

Some regions of Australia have been able to pull away from the crowd and thus are distinct from the mix of national wines than they were in 2000. But, just over one-fifth of the 74 regions of Australia that are included in the database, which comprised 40percent of Australia’s nation’s winegrape land in 2010, have changed their mix of varietals barely any point (the VSI of their combination in 2010 was 0.97 or greater). In addition, for another quarter of Australia’s regions, comprising 22 percent of the nation’s area in 2010, the VSI ranged from 0.95 (or 0.96. It was the rest of the regions, making up less than one-third of the winegrapes with a VSI in their blend of varieties between 2000 and 2010. It was lower than 0.95.


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