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  • 1. ConVinium Changing temperatures in Greece's Vineyards. Blessing or Armageddon? Ted Lelekas | Wine Writer & Blogger | Athens, Greece October 2013
  • 2. ConVinium The Hard Facts
  • 3. ConVinium Experts warn that by 2031, the situation in Greece will be the following: - Maximum temperature will rise by 2-4ᵒC - Rainfalls will decrease by 10% - Agricultural production will require 40% more water - Heatwave periods (>35ᵒC) will increase by 30 days annually - Dry spells will increase by 1 week annually - The forest fire alert period will increase by 2-6 weeks annually Source: ClimateChange GR
  • 4. ConVinium What the people on the ground say
  • 5. ConVinium George Palivos, owner and winemaker, Domaine Palivos, Nemea “Even though logic dictates that temperatures are rising, as the global warming phenomenon is irrefutable, my gut feeling (and our empirical evidence so far) points to the fact that our climate is actually moving in circles. For instance, in 2013, in Nemea, we had the coolest summer in a long time. In fact, this is exactly what I’m talking about: every time we’re struck by a “freak” phenomenon (hail, frost, etc), we always go back to the last time it happened”.
  • 6. ConVinium Nana Chrisochoou, winemaker, Estate Chrisochoou, Naoussa “In the last 4 years we have observed a temperature increase by 1ᵒC, and a decrease in rainfalls by 10-15% across our vineyards. This is expected to continue for the next 40 years. Higher temperature can contribute to the faster ripening of grapes, leading to higher sugar concentration and, consequently, alcohol degrees, however they can have negative effects on plant productivity and fruit quality. In addition, the temperature increase seems to be generating new breeds of insects and diseases that are bound to affect viticulture - the same applies to the rising needs for water”.
  • 7. ConVinium Nikos Karatzas, general manager and winemaker, Pavlidis Estate, Drama “What we seem to be observing is not necessarily a pattern of temperature increases, but more a series of anomalies. For instance, 2011 was a relatively cool year, 2012 was hotter, with the temperature reaching its peak in the summer months, while 2013 was warm throughout. In my time at Pavlidis Estate, since 2005, we have seen no extreme phenomena, but we have definitely seen harvest starting earlier by as much as 20 days. This is bound to affect the vine's natural function, as all stages in the plant's lifecycle after flowering seem to be becoming faster and shorter. For us this is a wake-up call to start getting used to the new circumstances, with more working hands, precision in timings and extra care to avoid water stress by daily checks and irrigation according to the RDI (Regulated Deficit Irrigation) standard”.
  • 8. ConVinium Emmanouela Paterianaki, winemaker, Domaine Paterianaki, Crete “In the last 8 years the temperature rise is evident and affects both viticulture and wine-making. Our main observations are the following: a) decrease in production, as the vines become more and more stressed in the summer months, b) increased need for drip irrigation to avoid stress and careful pruning to retain moisture, c) increase in alcohol levels by c. 1.5 degrees in white wines and c. 1 degree in reds. Native varieties (Vidiano, Kotsifali etc) seem to be affected less by this phenomenon, while international varieties (Chardonnay, Syrah) have a more serious issue. We are a 100% organic winery and we believe that organic viticulture and minimum or zero human intervention on the ecosystem will be part of the solution to this problem”.
  • 9. ConVinium Katerina Bosinaki, owner, Bosinakis Winery, Mantinia “We haven't noticed dramatic temperature changes in the last years. We are, however, concerned by extreme phenomena such as frost and hail. Our main observations are a) shorter harvest periods, b) an early start pattern in harvest, c) fewer rainfalls and d) rising alcohol levels in wine. We continue to benefit from the significant difference in temperature between day and night and hope that, if change continues to come gradually, both the vineyard itself and our viticulture practices will be able to adapt. Still, we remain alert and certainly concerned”.
  • 10. ConVinium George Salpiggidis, head of viticulture, Tsantali “The fact that average temperature is rising is indisputable. However, it is essential to take into account other important parameters as well, such as the number of high-temperature (>35ᵒC) days per year, as well as the distribution of rainfall during germination, the availability of water for irrigation and the adaptation of viticulture practices in order to balance - if not capitalise on - the temperature increase. The main observation in our own vineyards is harvest time, which in certain cases is brought forward by as much as 10 days. As a result, at fruit level, we see an increased concentration in sugars, which is not, however, in balance with phenolic ripeness”.
  • 11. ConVinium Kostas Bakasietas, viticulture researcher and consultant, VNB “The climate in Greece, as in the rest of the world, is changing. It started in the early 2000s and will continue going forward. We should be expecting abrupt weather changes, increased temperatures in the summer, intense but brief rainfalls and other extreme phenomena. Vineyard irrigation is mandatory throughout Greece and harvest will come earlier every year. Red varieties will produce rounder and smoother wines, white varieties will have lower aromatic intensity and acidity”.
  • 12. ConVinium Kostas Bakasietas, viticulture researcher and consultant, VNB “The good news for Greece: our geography will help us. We may be a warm country, but our mountainous terrain and the sea that will surround us will help control temperatures and retain moisture. In addition, Greek (as with most Southern European) varieties, will not be affected due to small berry size and thousands of years of evolution in a hot climate ecosystem”.
  • 13. ConVinium Kostas Bakasietas, viticulture researcher and consultant, VNB What needs to be done: - New plantings with rootstock that can withstand drought - Selection of grape varieties durable to high temperatures - Smaller yields so as not to exhaust vines - Severe pruning to keep the vines lean - Irrigation - Sparse planting in the vineyard to ensure more moisture per plant - Organic viticulture to maintain the soil productive and effective
  • 14. ConVinium Conclusions
  • 15. ConVinium - Changes started, effectively, in the early 2000s - It’s still early to draw conclusions on what is to come - Data is not yet definitive and predictions are far from reliable - There is concern across the Greek wine sector and people are monitoring changes and phenomena - In the short term, climate changes may be beneficial - In the long term , repercussions may be mild, or even positive, if we adapt viticulture practices and respect the environment more
  • 16. ConVinium This is a battle that can be won, mainly through adapting or changing practices in the vineyard
  • 17. ConVinium Thank you!