Environment Vine of the times

Vine of the times

Aussies love a good red but how will climate change affect our favourite drop?

Charles Sturt University researcher Julia Gouot is determined to find out, investigating the impact of heatwave conditions on shiraz grapes.

With wine production spreading to countries previously thought too cold – even England and Wales – questions are growing about how our industry will hold up.

Ms Gouot says heatwave temperatures above 50ºC could affect important aspects of grape growth.

“We’re interested in seeing how that influences compounds such as phenolics in berry skin and seeds and sugars and acids in the pulp,” she says.

“Phenolics can contribute to wine colour and taste or mouthfeel, so it is essential to understand how they are affected.”

Charles Sturt University research supervisor Dr Celia Barril says the aim is to help wine growers adapt.

“Climate change is likely to result in an increase in frequency and intensity of heat events, as well as earlier occurrences of such events during the grape growing season,” Dr Barril says.

“It’s hoped the research will give growers and winemakers more information about the impact of heat waves on berry survival and quality to guide decision making.”

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