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Keywords:

  • grapevines;
  • European viticulture;
  • climate change;
  • UV-B radiation;
  • flavour development;
  • CO2 effects;
  • temperature;
  • rainfall

Abstract

Predicted changes in the climate of European viticultural regions over coming decades may alter significantly both the spectrum and the distribution of grape varieties currently used. Changes observed over recent years confirm those predictions. In particular, shifts in precipitation patterns will affect most European regions, with increased risk of drought, and given this scenario, the consequences would be most dramatic for the Iberian peninsula. Soil practices may have to be adapted to account for changes in soil moisture and decay rates of organic matter. Rising CO2 concentration alone may increase grape production and water use efficiency, but more comprehensive studies predict decreases in yield when increasing temperature and changes in solar radiation are considered simultaneously. As part of those changes in solar radiation, levels of UV-B radiation will probably continue to rise, and will have a direct impact on grape composition and thus flavour development via alteration of secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, amino acids and carotenoids.