Climate change is seriously affecting wine production in Latin America, although it is a global problem. The delicate process that a vine takes to develop is brought forward or interrupted by changes in climate. The higher temperature causes changes in the chemistry of the wine and produces alterations in its flavor and color.
Climate change hurts wine production.
High temperatures were devastating for many grape-producing regions of the world, as it slows grape ripening. Elsewhere, as in Latin America, droughts, forest fires and hail rains have harmed producers. So much so that some are rethinking their production. In Chile, many wine producers are changing the vines for another type of crop.
Fertile areas for vines are being displaced by droughts. They are becoming more intense every year and forest fires are proving unstoppable. In 2017, south-central Chile was ravaged by forest fires, with attendant damage to wine production.
In Argentina, late frosts and drought affected wine-producing areas such as Mendoza. The increase in annual temperature causes the grapes to ripen early, bringing forward the harvest. This causes the grapes to adapt to the new climate, even though it is changeable. As a result, many producers lost their harvests.
In 2022, wine production in Mendoza decreased by 14%. This decrease was due to late frosts in October and mainly to hail in January and February of the same year.
For producers this means having to adapt to new trends that help with the economy. For example, in Chile, some plots are used to plant pine or eucalyptus trees.
Enotourism is a specialized form of tourism that focuses on visiting and exploring wine regions, with the main objective of learning about and enjoying wine, its culture, history and associated traditions. This activity combines tourism with wine tasting and appreciation, as well as visits to wineries, vineyards, wine museums and other places related to wine production.
Argentina puts wine tourism into practice. They receive in the wineries local tourists and tourists from all over the world interested in learning how wine is made. There are Chilean wineries that do the same. Visitors go through each step of the process, from the elaboration of a good wine to the bottling and labeling.
How does climate change affect wine?
The changing climate can kill even the most resistant varieties. It is also a determining factor in the production of a quality wine. Good wine depends on three elements that must be in balance: acid, sugar and secondary compounds, which change according to the variety.
The sugar accumulates in the grapes, while the acid decomposes as the grapes ripen. Secondary compounds, chemicals, accumulate as the grapes ripen. They are tannins and anthocyanins, which give color and protection to the grapes. This delicate process is affected by environmental factors, such as extreme heat, soil type, heavy rains, fog or drought.
Climate change is harming wine production around the globe. For regional economies, it is a detriment that can lead to the disappearance of a winery in the markets.