Global Warming A Good Thing?

02/14/2008 02:12

Global Warming may actually help the New Zealand wine industry. New Zealand areas that are typically cold may be better suited for wine production as the impact of global warming is felt.

WELLINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Global warming, which is threatening the viability of the drought-stricken wine industry in Australia, could be a boon for neighbouring New Zealand which has been enjoying a growing reputation for its quality wines. New Zealand's subtle flavoured wines, mostly whites such as Sauvignon Blanc but also reds such as Pinot Noir, are appearing on the tables of fine restaurants from London to Los Angeles and are winning medals at prestigious international wine shows. Yet despite success at producing quality wines, New Zealand has long had trouble producing wines in significant export quantities due to its weather. New Zealand is one of the world's most southern countries and frosts and biting winds from Antarctica make it hard to cultivate wine-worthy grapes. But that may change. Higher temperatures due to global warming are expected to make cold areas of New Zealand more temperate and better suited to grape cultivation. So it's no surprise that New Zealand wine-growers are upbeat about a future that includes climate change. "The big picture for New Zealand wine is very, very good," said Philip Gregan, chief executive of industry body New Zealand Winegrowers. Wine is only produced in the warmer, drier areas of the country, mainly Gisborne and Hawke's Bay on the east coast of the North Island, and Marlborough at the top of the South Island. But if temperatures in New Zealand rise by one or two degrees as predicted, then wine growing could spread to other regions of the country which are currently too cold or wet to support grapes, Gregan said.


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