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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Threat to Australian wine exports
Grapes
Grapes may be heading south by the middle of the century
Australia's wine export trade, worth 5bn Australian dollars ($3.8bn;2bn) a year, is threatened by global warming and some grapes may totally disappear.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has warned that wine growers will have to change to survive.

CSIRO thinks some grape varieties will not suit the future climate.

Australia's vast wine industry needs to embark on a climate change strategy to protect its markets, the CSIRO said.

Grapes squeezed

Modelling a range of climate change possibilities for the years 2030 to 2050, the CSIRO noted the potential impact on the quality of wines made from popular grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.

Temperatures in some wine-growing areas will rise by up to 1.7C by 2030 according to the CSIRO, prompting it to recommend that some vineyards should prepare to relocate to cooler areas in the south of the country.

Woman drinking glass of wine
Global warming could call last orders on popular Aussie tipples

By 2050 the harvest-time temperature in the currently cool Coonawarra wine-growing region will leap from 13C today to 19C, CSIRO researcher Leanne Webb said.

Backed by the CSIRO's Climate Impact and Risks team, Ms Webb's report lays out the need for serious thought in an industry that is especially vulnerable to climate change.

"Addressing the scope of these impacts now will allow the industry to prepare strategically for projected warmer and drier climates," she said.

Wine growing is Australia's fastest growing rural industry, with exports expanding at 12% per annum.


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