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13 August 2021 — OIV life

Wildfires are ravaging vineyards

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OIV experts confirm that increasing wildfires due to climate change are disrupting the vine sector

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Scientists warn that humans are changing the climate in some irreversible ways, in the sixth assessment report presented at the last UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Heatwaves have become more frequent and intense since 1950 according to the last UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This report, made by a group of scientists whose findings are endorsed by world governments, have also found that the past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850.

Over the last years, we observed how climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires. Vineyards couldn’t escape/ have not escaped from this calamity. Countries such as Australia, the USA, Portugal, Italy or Greece faced or are facing this problem, which is so much reflected in wine in many ways.

Wildfires impact environmental sustainability, affecting the terroir and changing the smell and flavour of wine.

The high incidence of wildfires is a direct result of the warming of the atmosphere due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, causing drought and strong winds that spread flames quickly and complicate putting out the fire. High temperatures caused by fire may also destroy and dry out grapes to the point of making them unsuitable to use.

Facing climate change through mitigation and adaptation activities is the first point of our Strategic Plan number 1 Axis “Promote environmentally-friendly vitiviniculture”. Consult the OIV Strategic Plan

To go deeper in this subject, we also invite you to consult the scientific article, on open access: “Techniques for Mitigating the Effects of Smoke Taint While Maintaining Quality in Wine Production: A Review”.

The conclusions of the sixth assessment report of the IPCC can be viewed online using the IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas.

Wildfires impact environmental sustainability, affecting the terroir and changing the smell and flavour of wine.