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Climate Change & Farming, Cabernet-Style?

Higher temperatures. Less water. Wildfire smoke. Climate change is getting the wine industry a little buzzed.

Temperatures are an average of 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in 1980, according to weather records. Plus, the major wine regions in the U.S. are looking a little dry with all the water issues. Vineyards are getting about 30% less water than in the 1980s. (Luckily, technology like drip irrigation is helping the issue).

The intense droughts are leading to a blanc-et of smoke from wildfires over the area, creating a whole new set of problems to yet be solved…

A soundbite: “It is one of the most complicated issues to face the wine industry in a long while,” Melissa Hansen, research program director with the Washington State Wine Commission, said. “The impact of smoke on grapes depends on many factors.”

Oh, and this: Climate change is causing a domino effect on the industry. The changing temperature means the potential for new diseases and pests, on top of everything else.

Some in the wine industry are drinking deeply into doing their part to combat climate change with things like carbon farming. And the shifting weather is leading other wineries to switch up grape varieties and look for other ways to manage the change.