Mason Spink, president of the British Columbia Grapegrowers’ Association speaking at the BC Wine Industry Insight Forum. - Image: Barry Gerding

Okanagan wine industry lacks climate change plan

More research needed to assess Okanagan warming trend

A lack of research contributes to an absence of long-term strategies for the Okanagan grape growing industry to deal with the impact of climate change, says a leading U.S. industry researcher.

Gregory Jones, director of wine education for Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, says minimizing and adapting to the risks posed by a warming temperature for the grape growing and wine industries is critically important.

“We know climate change is happening and for every one degree change in our temperature trend, that generates consequences that we need to think about and be prepared to deal with,” Jones said.

He said that’s important to both the agriculture and tourism industries because they interface on so many levels, yet there is a lack of awareness on how to move forward. That realization was discussed widely at the the recent BC Tourism Industry Conference in Kelowna, where many tourism industry people talked about the importance tourism will play in preserving our province’s environment in the years ahead.

Jones was speaking via video hookup about climate change at the inaugural BC Wine Industry Insight Forum held in Penticton on Tuesday.

Jones cited one example in his Willamette Valley region where some grape growers have already begun working to produce grape crops without irrigation.

“A new group has formed called the Dry Root Society to look at non-irrigation grape wine production. That work is important for changing landscapes that are dependent on irrigation,” Jones said.

Jones said climate change is having a global impact on the wine industry, as it has opened up opportunities for wine industries to start up in other countries, both on higher elevation landscapes and coastal regions.

He said the wine industries in India and China are exploding in growth, saying that China will soon be among the top three or four wine producing countries in the world.

“Brazil and Southeast Asia are starting to export wines, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and other parts of Asia are operating more on a wholesale level. Russia has gotten tired of importing everyone else’s wines and is starting to produce their own,” Jones said.

International economics have also created new wine markets, new wine styles, changing wine selling demographics globally, and new purchasing trends.

“I just returned from Europe and it is very common there now to come across wine vending machines,” he said.

For the wine industry, Jones said the warming trend in Oregon or the Okanagan Valley impacts the grape harvest, what kinds of grape crops can succeed in a warming landscape and how to deal with heat stress episodes where wine vineyard plants literally shut down to survive.

“Sometimes the fruit ripen too early, or there is a sugar ripe level that is reached before the flavour/aroma development,” he said.

Other climate change impacts he noted are soil fertility quality and erosion, impact of CO2 on vine fertilization, water availability and altered or new diseases and vine pests that affect grape production.

“You see the potential for new pests to be driven to a place they never were before by climate change where they have no natural enemies allowing them to proliferate,” he said.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer arrives at Big White Ski Resort

Hiking, bike trails, restaurants and more are open as of July 10

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Pianos return to Kelowna parks

The Pianos in Parks program was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Certain crimes increased in Peachland during pandemic

Theft from vehicles, vehicle incidents, and break and enters have increased during the pandemic

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read