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Montevideo, March 21st 2019 - 18:39 UTC

Chilean vineyards moving south in anticipation of climate change

Wednesday, October 28th 2009 - 20:35 UTC
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Wine is one of the main quality export industries of Chile. Wine is one of the main quality export industries of Chile.

Some of Chile’s most renowned vineyards may have to relocate in the face of global warming, suggests a recent study conducted by the British consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Higher temperatures and decreasing rainfall levels means the best conditions for wine production will be found further south in the country.

The study reports that due to an expected temperature increase of 1.5 degrees and rainfall decrease of 30% caused by global warming, the climatic conditions needed for grape growing will shift south, where temperatures are cooler and where there is more rainfall.

This means that vineyards traditionally based in the central regions of Chile will move to newer areas like the Lake District around Regions IX and X. Famous brands such as Viña Morande are already setting up estates around Lake Llanquihue in Region X.

Elena Carretero, head of Consorcios del Vino – a taskforce commissioned by 90 wine firms to study the matter – is optimistic.

“Here we don’t have problems with moving. If it is required, we can relocate,” she said.

Other countries like Australia and France are not so fortunate. Wine experts suggest that some vineyards may have to move 1,000 km beyond their current holdings just to continue in the industry.

This report coincides with a project by wine makers to be more energy efficient in a bid to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

Insulating bodegas and using solar panels have dramatically cut the energy usage of leading vineyards such as Los Vascos in Conchalgua (Region VI).

Producers can also compensate for their carbon emissions under the new project by funding reforestation schemes in countries such as Uganda.

The increasing use of “Ecoglass” bottles – 20% thinner glass material- is another environmentally friendly method being implemented. The use of thinner bottles allows Chile to export more than three million extra cases of wine a year without producing more glass.

“We want to emphasize that energy efficiency is an important way of fighting climate change” said Nicola Borregaard, director of the project titled “Energy efficiency and Climate Change in Wine Production.”

By James Fowler - Santiago Times

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