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Climate change has fans in Italian vineyards
ROME, April 4, |
ROME, April 4, (Reuters) - While politicians and scientists around the world are busy trying to fight climate change, Italian wine producers have never had it so good thanks to global warming, according to new research.
Rising temperatures registered in Italy in the last 20 years have created the best conditions ever for growing grapes from which the most famous Italian wines are made, according to research by Florence University.
"In the last 20 years, temperature rises have had a very positive effect on certain wines," said Simone Orlandini, an agronomy professor at Florence University.
Together with a pool of experts, Orlandini studied the connection between the average quality of top Italian wines and meteorological conditions.
Researchers chose Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico from Tuscany, Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont and Amarone from Veneto.
They collected annual quality rankings of the six wines covering a period of 33 years and analyzed the relationship with weather trends.
"The result is pretty clear -- we have reached the optimal situation," said professor Giampiero Maracchi, co-author of the research who works for the National Institute of Biometeorology.
But good news for certain grapes can be bad news for others.
Maracchi said warmer climate means vineyards will gradually have to stop producing certain wines in favor of others.
"Soil in Veneto is becoming more suited for growing grapes good for sweet wines than for table wines," he said.
The research suggests there is a strong connection between improvements in wine quality and climate changes.
But a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented last month said temperatures will keep rising, projecting a "best estimate" of a rise by between 1.8 and 4 degrees Celsius within this century.
Does this mean Italy may soon reach a point when it will be too hot to produce its best wines?
"There's obviously a risk that the situation might get worse," said Maracchi. "Even linguistically, there's no word to describe conditions that go beyond optimum, so it can only stay the same or become worse."
"But if temperature rises up to 4 degrees as they say, I think Brunello will be the least of our problems."
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