July 11th, 2006

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global warming to effect grape growing regions?


Now's the time to cellar wine
Scientists fear that rising temperatures due to global warming will harm the wine industry in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties

Prudencio Tinoco repairs a drip irrigation system in a Ch... Grape clusters are showing their early development at Roc... Arid brown hills of dried grass roll south of Roche Vinya... Warming Wine Regions. Chronicle Graphic

Americans may have another reason to worry about global warming: Apart from the rising seas and disappearing polar bears, climate change could also wipe out premium wine grape growing in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties by the end of the century, according to a new study out today.

An increase in the number of very hot days during the growing seasons would make California's richest wine-producing regions unsuitable for the finest grapes, under the scenario published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Yet some internationally known climate experts warn that models aren't yet good enough to predict effects on future agriculture and at best can only suggest possible outcomes.

Despite those cautionary comments, the study's authors say predictions of losing the best growing lands for the state's $2.9 billion wine industry bring home the importance of climate in farm production.

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