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Italian Winemakers Are Finding Creative Ways to Battle Climate Change Amid Worrying Reports

Italian Winemakers Are Finding Creative Ways to Battle Climate Change Amid Worrying Reports

In April of 2021, winemakers across Europe found themselves battling a freak late frost. At Tenuta di Trinoro, a vineyard in Tuscany, it took a 24-strong team several hours one blistering cold night to set out and light up 3,500 candles to keep the fragile young buds of the vines from freezing. Then, as a summer of brutal sun and droughts drew to a close, the vineyard had to expedite the harvest to avoid ending up with a sugary, high-alcohol product.

Data released during the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November 2021 has revealed that these extreme weather events and rising temperatures caused production in the Italian wine industry to drop by 9 percent this year. The report is a stark warning that climate change is having and will increasingly have drastic effects on Italy’s winemaking sector

SOBERING YEAR FOR WINE PRODUCTION

At COP26, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) presented findings about the effects of unfavorable weather and climatic conditions on the world’s wine production in 2021. As well as the late spring frosts in Italy, there were downpours in the summer — which tend to run off the hillside rather than penetrate the ground — and hail that damaged the fruit. The unseasonable frosts, extreme heat waves, and storms that battered the country have resulted in the industry losing an estimated €2 billion ($2.3 b) so far this year

Although the individual adversities can be managed in some ways — such as covering vines with netting to protect from hail — the unpredictability of such dramatic weather events remains problematic. “When you see the problem, it’s too late,” says Benjamin Franchetti, whose family runs the vineyard Tenuta di Trinoro. “The issue for us now is being able to foresee it.” Franchetti and his family are now considering installing some kind of infrastructure, perhaps heated pipes, to cope with unforeseen frosts


Climate change is having and will increasingly have drastic effects on Italy’s winemaking sector. Here's how winemakers are responding.
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