Frosts, heatwaves and wildfires: the climate crisis is hitting the wine industry hard


In the 1960s, when Oregon’s wine industry started to grow significantly, the historically temperate state seemed like the ideal place for growing grapes for a variety of wines, such as chardonnay and pinot noir. But, almost as soon as that identity was starting to be recognized, the impacts of the climate crisis were making the industry much more precarious.

The total area burned during the 2020 wildfire season was among the largest in Oregon’s recorded history, according to the Oregon climate assessment published in January. The report projected that temperatures would continue to increase and wildfires would get bigger.

And that’s a story playing out globally. As the climate crisis intensifies – bringing increasingly severe wildfires, warmer summers, milder winters as well as unpredictable frosts and rainfall – it is changing wine production.



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