Climate Change Hits Wine Industry in an Unexpected Way

If you happen to have been listening to 97% of the world’s scientists lately, you may have heard a little bit about something called climate change. It’s a subject already familiar to the wine world as increased global temperatures have drastically changed the contemporary wine industry. With warmer temperatures across the planet, more and more of the world has become hospitable to grape growing and wine making.

Of course, these gains are offset by the adverse affects climate change such as the melting of the polar ice caps and a decrease in the output of large numbers of other crops across the planet. Here at Skolnik, we’re proud to do our small part to combat the negative effects of climate change with our stainless steel wine barrels. Skolnik wine drums are a greener alternative to some of the more waste generating alternatives. However, despite sustainability efforts such as ours, climate change has still negatively impacted the wine industry in a lot of ways. One specific consequence, however, may surprise you.

According to this recently released study, researchers observing a small sample of workers at wine vineyards in Cyprus found a definitive connection between increased heat and a reduced production of wine, but it’s because of the decreased productivity of the workers. The hotter it gets, the slower people can work. As obvious a conclusion as this is, the results were surprisingly pronounced. The study measured how productive the workers’ labor was throughout the year, and they found that as the summers got up to 36° C (97°F), the productivity dropped an entire 27%. There was an additional 15% decrease in time they could work due to the need for unplanned work breaks. More than just being sluggish in the summer, the productivity of the vineyards was drastically diminished by the heat. Not good news as the global averages of heat are continuing to rise.

The authors of the study urge us not to extrapolate too many conclusions from their work as this was in no way a large scale, exhaustive study. It does, however, illustrate a less intuitive way that global warming affects each one of our lives; as the planet heats up, we’ll be able to work less and less. Less work means fewer grapes, and fewer grapes means less wine. For us vino drinkers, that certainly gives us another, new incentive to go green.