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Global warming may alter U.S. wine quality

July 11, 2006 at 12:05 PM   |   Comments

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., July 11 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say global warming might significantly alter the quality of wine grape production in California by the end of this century.

The Purdue University study says more very hot days during the growing seasons would make California's premium wine-producing areas unsuitable for the finest grapes, significantly affecting the state's $2.9 billion wine industry.

Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University and a study author, told the San Francisco Chronicle he and colleagues are looking at a number of other crops, such as soybeans, corn and timber, as well as agricultural pests, that might be affected.

The study estimates wine production in California's Napa and Sonoma valleys and Santa Barbara County would essentially be eliminated by the late 21st century.

The researchers -- including some from Utah State and Southern Oregon universities -- said the United States could lose as much as 81 percent of its premium wine grape growing acreage by 2100, with the greatest losses occurring along the West Coast and in the southwestern part of the nation, the Chronicle reported.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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