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In Australia, the end of Shiraz as we know it?

Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 01:39

As Australia heats up, its multibillion-dollar wine industry is shifting south to cooler climes. And that means consumers should brace for some very different vintages. Jane Wardell reports.

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Tasmania's Coal Valley on a wet winter's morning may not seem like the most obvious in-demand location for Australia's top wine producers. I'm Jane Wardell, reporting from Australia's southern-most island state, where the country's main wine companies are looking to find innovative ways to deal with climate change and the impacts on a multibillion-dollar industry. The problem is that the country's traditional growing regions, back up on the mainland, are simply getting too hot. A recent U.S. study has shown that about 75 percent of the land currently used for viticulture in Australia will become untenable by 2050. The time that grapes take to ripen is also shortening drastically. That means that a Shiraz as we know it today won't taste the same in a couple of decades. (SOUNDBITE)(English) LEADER RESEARCHER AT SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (SARDI), MICHAEL MCCARTHY, SAYING: "If the projections are right, a shiraz in the Barossa in 50 years' time may well taste totally different to what it does at the moment. But equally a pinot out of the Yarra will taste differenty in 50 years time, a cabernet out of the Coonawarra will taste differenly and so on. The whole world is going to be on that learning curve." The government is so concerned it is looking at industry with ways to change the way the grapes are grown on the vine. In the meantime, companies like Treasury Wine, the world's second-biggest wine producer, are moving down here to Tasmania, where you can see from the mist behind me it's much cooler than up on the mainland. So with that comes changes in the varieties that they are producing. This vineyard is producing pinot noir and reislings among others. So Australia's next big wine export, instead of being the big, brassy flavours it is known for, is likely to be subtler and more sophisticated, largely thanks to climate change. ENDS

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In Australia, the end of Shiraz as we know it?

Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 01:39