Warming temperatures could significantly impact some of America’s premium wine growing regions within three decades, including counties in California that produce some of the nation’s most expensive wines,
according to a new Stanford University study. In Northern California, researchers predict, the amount of land suitable for high-quality wine grapes could decrease by 50 percent. California’s wine industry, which provides about 90 percent of the nation’s total wine production, was estimated to be worth $18.5 billion last year. A 2006 study predicted that as much as 81 percent of the U.S. land suitable for premium wine grapes could disappear by the end of the century. “Our new study looks at climate change during the next 30 years — a time frame over which people are actually considering the costs and benefits of making decisions on the ground,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth science at Stanford and author of both studies. According to the study, some cooler parts of Oregon and Washington State could see an increase in the acreage suitable for premium wine grapes. The study assumed that greenhouse gas emissions will increase 23 percent by 2040 and that temperatures will rise by 1.8 degrees F.