Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius


Rice Lake Merlot 2037 VQA

An interesting, older piece from RealClimate on the relationship between climate change and viticulture: it seems England is getting a leg up on winemaking, and incidentally makes the point that past instances of global warming have absolutely nothing to do to with the present technical debate on climate change:

For the sake of argument, let's accept that medieval times were as warm in England as they are today, and even that global temperatures were similar (that's a much bigger leap, but no mind). What would that imply for our attribution of current climate changes to human causes? ....... Nothing. Nowt. Zero. Zip.

Why? Well, warm periods have occured in the past, and if not the medieval period, then probably the last interglacial (120,000 years ago), certainly the Pliocene (3 million years ago), without question the (Eocene 50 million years), and in particular the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (55 million years ago), and so on. Current theories of climate change do not rely on whether today's temperatures are 'unprecedented'. Instead they examine the physical causes of climate change and match up what we know about their physical effects and time history and see which of the multiple drivers or combination can best explain the observations. For the last few decades, that is quite clearly the rise in greenhouse gases, punctuated by the occasional volcano and mitigated slightly by the concomittant rise in particulate pollution.

Meanwhile, in the backwoods of Upper Canada, viticulture is getting a toehold in some unconventional places, driven by the relentless mechanics of climate change. Even here in the Kawarthas, which lays entirely on the wrong side of the Oak Ridge Moraine, and thus is deprived of the balming influence of Lake Ontario, a few hardy horticulturalists are experimenting with vinifera grapes with some success. With a little effort, one can envisage in 20 or 30 years tidy rows of Reisling grapes crawling up and the down the drumlins, boutique ice wine shops on Queen Street, Lakefield, and perhaps in a few sheltered locations, Pinot Noir crowding out the ticky-tack cottages on Chemong Lake or Stoney. Land speculation for prime terroir in Peterborough County is only a matter of time. Oil company executives will be unloading soon-to-be worthless stock; next we'll see Hollywood-types will be cruising the back concessions in Hummers, scouting out winery sites. It's a boom waiting to happen, the next big thing. Really.

I have a few acres of gravelly south-facing slopes, perfect for low-yield, high quality produce. Call me. I mean it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schmidt`s point is invalid; the British wine industry is driven by technological advancement-including better vineyard management, better antifungals, and the use of French American hybrid varietals or German crosses like Muller-Thurgau. What was grown in England during the MWP were Vitus Vinifera, which cannot make it in Britain now. You guys grow it in Canada, too, which is why your productivity has increased. The same holds true for many other fruits and vegetables; long mendelian breeding programs created varieties that can ripen in a shorter, more volatile growing season. Dr. Frank brought specially-bred vinifera from Russia and that is where your Canadian Merlot is coming from. These were developed over centuries to withstand the cold. Also, frost protection technology keeps the grapes from freezing-something that vineyardists didn`t have until the modern era.

Technology is more important in this regards than the warming climate.


Timothy Birdnow

Monday, 23 February, 2009  

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