14 April 2013
11th April, 2013 - Plumpton College, Nr.Lewes, East Sussex
E-VitiClimate is an EU-funded project to educate grapegrowers and winemakers across Europe on the potential impact of climate change and what measures can be taken to mitigate that impact. The pilot phase is complete and the learning materials are now available, free to use, at www.eviticlimate.eu.
With a major study (www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/04/03/1210127110.abstract) recently published by the US National Academy of Science predicting significant changes to winegrowing regions, the stated goal of the E-VitiClimate project is to “maintain the richness and diversity of European vineyards in the face of the challenges posed by climate change”. The website has two modules and a range of educational tools enabling industry professionals to acquire fundamental knowledge about the impact of climate change on wine production.
A changing climate can impact wine production both in the vineyard and the winery, for example vines can change their rates of development leading to changing harvest dates and potentially unbalanced sugar/acid/phenolics in grapes. Vineyards may also have to adapt to changing patterns of water stress and the introduction of new pests and diseases caused by changing vineyard ecosystems. The wine itself can suffer from changing alcohol & acidity levels and increased vintage variability.
To better understand these developments, the first module is entitled ‘Global Climate Change, its impact on European vineyards and possible adaptations’. Over a series of nine lessons this module provides an overview of the issues behind climate change globally including a summary of the scenarios developed by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the evolution of viticulture and wine production and advice on possible adaptations in the winery and the vineyard. The module also provides information on soil, water resources, greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures, grapevine pests & disease and the natural elements that influence local climates (i.e. latitude, altitude, inclination, etc.).
The specific impacts of climate change will inevitably be felt differently in specific regions, which is why the second module of the e-learning content deals with the impact of climate change in the local ecologies of the contributing nations, with each user receiving content tailored to their own country.
Plumpton College is the UK’s leading institution for wine studies and research and is responsible for developing E-VitiClimate’s UK-specific content as well as providing support to users throughout their learning experience.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.