Which is more important, pandas or pinot? Researchers say that is a question conservationists and wine-growers will have to answer in the coming years as climate change sparks a hunt for cooler places to grow wine grapes, even if those places are home to sensitive animal populations.
Already, big players in the $290 billion a year global wine industry are eyeing land in northern climes as rising temperatures force them to consider growing in places other than the most popular spots in the Mediterranean, Australia and California.
But an anticipated 25 to 73 percent loss in suitable growing area in the current major wine producing parts of the world by 2050 may put water resources and wildlife on a collision course with the wine industry, researchers say.
The regions of Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley in France along with Tuscany in Italy are expected to experience big declines in suitable land area, said the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.