Greek producers are already discussing the impacts of climate change and this is a “trendy” and much worried discussion among the industry members. Climate change is not just about the global warming. With so much depending on the soils, the slopes orientation, the grape variety and all those factors that determine the local terroir, the impact of climate change on the grapes and the wines can be very different.
Increasingly, severe weather – especially late spring frosts, violent hail storms, severe droughts, prolonged heatwaves and frequent flooding – are proving nightmares for winemakers as well as other crop growers. A combination of earlier ripening and spring frosts significantly reduces the growth cycle of vines. In the longer term, it seems possible that varieties could gradually be changed because they may become unsuitable for their wine regions. Does this mean that Naoussa will become unsuitable for the production of Xinomavro in the future?
All the above create mixed feelings and such theories although existing will not apply any time soon. The positive thing is that Greece has a few great advantages against the severity of climate change and this is something that not every country can count on. First of all, it has a wealth of indigenous grape varieties found in the Greek vineyard. Many of these old grapes are extremely adapted to difficult wine-growing conditions. This vinodiversity is a major advantage against the rapid changes that climate change brings.
A second tool against the climate change is the mountainous topography of Greece. In warm regions, such as PGI Drama (ΠΓΕ Δράμα) producers are tackling climate change by planting new vineyards at higher altitudes. The increased alcohol levels and the loss of freshness can be counterbalanced by altitude, which delays the maturation process and leads to later harvests of technologically matured grapes.
Words such as sustainability, environmental protection, responsibility, awareness are heard more and more often among the conversations that take place. With a wonderful climate and human scale of production, Greece can contribute to the fight against the phenomenon of global warming.