The warming climate is creating some unexpected entrepreneurial opportunities. Many places that have traditionally dominated the wine industry are starting to be worried that the local climates that made them ideal for vineyards are changing and becoming much less ideal. On the other hand, places where wine-making was regarded as a losing proposition are becoming much more hospitable. A prime example is Scandinavia.
Nordic vintners are increasingly convinced that they can develop thriving commercial operations in what used to be places that are too cold for successful wine-making.
Denmark now has 90 commercial vineyards, up from just two 15 years ago. Forty vineyards have sprung up in Sweden. About a dozen vineyards are now operating as far north as Norway.
Many of these Nordic vineyards are in the startup stage and are tiny compared with the established wineries of Europe. Europe has 10 million acres of vineyards, which is enough to cover almost the entire country of Denmark. At the moment, there are only about 1,000 acres of vineyards in Denmark and Sweden.
But, looking forward, Scandinavia’s climate is forecast to be more like northern France, as regional temperatures climb as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the past decade, warming has produced milder winters, a longer growing season, and even a small but rising number of award-winning Scandinavian wines.
Meanwhile, traditional wine-growing regions are also dealing with climate change. Winemakers in France, for example, are experimenting with grapes from warmer countries like Tunisia to see if they can retain the tastes and yields that are the basis of a multibillion-dollar wine industry. Spanish and Italian winemakers are planting grapes higher up on mountainsides or on shaded north-facing slopes to preserve the quality of their wine.
Photo, posted August 24, 2019, courtesy of Ron Reiring via Flickr.